From graft accusations to murder charge: This man Okoth Obado

Migori Governor Okoth Obado during a press conference on Sharon's case in Nairobi, September 12, 2018. /ENOS TECHE
Migori Governor Okoth Obado during a press conference on Sharon's case in Nairobi, September 12, 2018. /ENOS TECHE

With murder charges hanging on his head,

Zachary Okoth Obado becomes the first governor to be in court over a capital offence.

Obado, 61, was, until the news of Sharon Otieno's murder, an independent politician who was known to be

humble, determined, unassuming and a quiet man.

Before defying odds and the ODM wave in Luo-Nyanza to become governor, Obado was a

trained teacher. He had a stint as a director of the Kenya Sugar Board.

In 2013, Obado

vied in the governor elections, and won alongside Deputy Governor Nelson Mahanga Mwita.

He was elected on a People’s Democratic Party ticket

taking in mind that his region was and is still an

Orange Democratic Movement zone.

Obado's determination and will made him clinch the seat making him the envy of his other contestants.

His election was petitioned by Prof Edward Oyugi.

The latter was vying on an ODM

ticket then. Following his case, the High court ordered for a recount of votes.

Even with the recount, Obado still maintained his lead, making him the governor of the county.

He was later on re-elected on an ODM ticket in 2017.

GRAFT ALLEGATIONS

With all this passion to develop his county, Obado has not shied away from controversies.

His first term in office spelled out a tough battle, with graft allegations levelled against him and his county administration.

In 2015, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission list of shame implicated Obado in cases of corruption.

The county chief was in the list over impropriety concerning Sh600 million through an alleged flawed tender process.

But the governor said the reports that he was involved in corruption were false.

He in the media that he is among politicians who have corruption cases.

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In September 2018,

Obado was on the spot for running after it emerged that detectives are pursuing what is believed to be suspicious transfers of county funds to his children abroad.

The Star established that asset recovery agencies had frozen the bank accounts of Obado's wife - Hellen Adhiambo, five businessmen, and three companies believed to be proxies or associated with the county boss.

In documents filed in court, the EACC says major Migori county suppliers who are alleged to be Obado's proxies made huge international transfers to, among others, Obado's children in Australia, Hong Kong and China.

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DISCIPLINARY

In August 2016, a funeral service in Migori county was disrupted following a clash between Obado's supporters and those of former minister Ochilo Ayacko.

Police and security officials were forced to shoot in the air several times, and armed police had to stand between the two groups as they booed each other down.

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In April 2017, the county chief was slapped with a Sh2 million fine by the disciplinary committee of his party ODM, for violence that rocked the opening of a party office in Migori.

Goons said to have been allied to him violently disrupted a campaign rally led by Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho to drum up support for his then opponent Ochilo Ayacko.

But the governor denied allegations that he sparked the violence during which Hassan Joho's bodyguard was shot and injured.

The Governor said he did not plan or engage in any form of violence at Migori's Posta grounds on April 3.

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MURDER

Apart from all this, Obado has now been charged with the murder of a Rongo University student Sharon Otieno.

He spent another night in remand at the Industrial Area Prison pending the ruling of his bond application today.

The governor, when he appeared before Justice Jessie Lessit on Monday, denied killing Rongo university student Sharon Otieno.

The charge is that together with others not before the court, he murdered Sharon at Owado area in Rachuonyo sub-county, between September 3 to September 4.

The county chief also faces the charge of aiding, abetting, and financing the murder.

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