Ojienda’s bank account still targeted in Mumias Sugar Ksh.280M case
The Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) intends to appeal a court decision that withheld search warrants obtained to search lawyer Tom Ojienda’s Standard Chartered Bank account in Nakuru.
The Court of Appeal had ruled that the move infringed on Ojienda’s fundamental rights and affected his interest adding that no notice was issued to him.
The three judges– Roslyne Nambuye, Paul Kiage and Sankale ole Kantai ruled that EACC chose the easier path of seeking warrants, instead of paying due regard to the preliminary steps required under its constitutive and operative.
“Such guidelines and regulations also help EACC discharge its mandate better as it has a chance to summon suspects, be furnished with the necessary information before preferring charges against individuals. This approach aids in the fair administration of investigation under ACECA,” reads the judgment
However, it was EACC’s argument that under section 26 of the ACECA-Anti Corruption and Economic Crime Revision-requires that a notice be issued only to an associate and not a suspect.
On March 18, 2015 the Chief Magistrate at Kibera Law Courts directed that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) probe Prof. Tom Ojienda.
This over an account at Standard Chartered Bank, Nakuru branch linked to his law firm: Prof. Tom Ojienda & Associates.
The application alleged that Ksh. 280million was paid into Ojienda’s advocate-client account by Mumias Sugar Company Ltd for legal services he allegedly had not rendered.
Ojienda then filed a petition under a Certificate of Urgency complaining that EACC surreptitiously and without notice to him obtained warrants to investigate his bank account.
He argued that that not only was this an abuse of the public power entrusted to EACC but also violation of his right to privacy, fair administrative action and fair hearing as stipulated under Articles 31, 40, 47, and 50 of the Constitution, respectively.
EACC on its part argued that it received an intelligence report concerning fictitious payments made by Mumias Sugar Company to various advocates, including Ojienda, as alleged legal fees.
It further claimed that the application for issuance of the warrants was necessary to assist investigations into the fictitious payments which were at the time considered to be criminal.
Further, EACC said investigations revealed that Mumias Sugar Company made various suspicious payments amounting to Ksh. 280million to Ojienda’s Standard Chartered Bank account.
Dr. Evans Kidero, who was the then Managing Director of the Company, allegedly sanctioned the irregular payments to be made prior to his exit from the company.