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January 22, 2019

Court orders Homa Bay clerk and top accountant arrested

Homa Bay Assembly clerk Bob Kephas (r) during the swearing in of speaker Elizabeth See ./ Habil Onyango
Homa Bay Assembly clerk Bob Kephas (r) during the swearing in of speaker Elizabeth See ./ Habil Onyango

A Homa Bay court on Friday issued a warrant of arrest for two senior assembly officials who escaped arrest by anti-corruption detectives.

Senior Principal Magistrate Thomas Obuto directed that Homa Bay County Assembly Clerk Bob Kephas and senior accounts controller Maurice Amek be arrested.

Obuto issued the order during court proceeding on Friday when five suspects arrested were charged.

“A warrant of arrest is hereby issued against the two accused persons who are not in court,” Obuto said.

Kephas and Amek evaded arrest by the EACC agents over accusations of embezzling Sh27.8 million in the assembly.

The two disappeared after Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji ordered the the EACC to arrest them.

Five suspects who were arrested during pleaded not guilty.

They include principal finance officer Caroline Chepkemoi Sang’, cashier Edwin Okello, former assembly service board member Judith Omogi, former majority leader Owino Ooro and former minority counterpart Isaac Nyandege. They denied the charges.

They were charged alongside Kephas and Amek who were absent.

The court heard that between June 2,2016, and January 26, 2017, the seven jointly conspired to embezzle public funds amounting to Sh27.8 million.The money was purported to be for travel, conference accommodation and allowances for MCAs and county staff during the financial years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.

Obuto ruled that the accused be remanded until next Wednesday when he will decide whether to grant them a bond or not.

Nyauke argued that the accused would not disappear if released bond. The suspects pleaded for bail saying most of them are senior citizens and have responsibilities of taking care of their families.

However, the prosecution argued they would interefere with witnesses.

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