Court to rule on finance officer’s Sh41m acquisition

A file photo of Milimani law courts in Nairobi.
A file photo of Milimani law courts in Nairobi.

A civil servant accused of illegal acquisition of wealth will have to wait until May 10 to know whether he will forfeit Sh41 million assets.

A court had ordered that Stanley Amuti surrender the assets to the government, but he appealed.

Appellate judges Philip Waki, Otieno Odek and Gatembu Kairu set the date after parties made their submissions yesterday.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, then known as the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, went after Amuti, who served at the National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation as finance manager. The agency said he was unable to explain how he accumulated considerable wealth between 1992 and 2008.

In 2017, High Court judge Lydia Achode ordered Amuti to pay the government Sh41,208,000. She declared it unexplained assets.

The sum included Sh9.5 million said to have been advanced to Samuel Gitonga, Sh15.5 million said to be a fee from a Sudanese national, Sh10.9 million said to be instalments paid by Evelyn Mwaka and Anthony Ng’ang’a Mwaura for alleged sale of property, Sh1 million said to be for a community project and Sh4.3 million seized from Amuti’s home and office.

Yesterday, Amuti urged the judges to set aside the order by Achode on grounds that he was never given a chance to explain himself. He said a person cannot forfeit property unless he has acquired it unlawfully.

“I was never accused of corruption or abuse of office. So, on what basis did the order for forfeiture arise, yet the commission’s evidence shows there was no corruption allegation?” he said.

The anti-graft agency urged the court to dismiss the appeal. It said Amuti failed to demonstrate any errors of law by the trial court, warranting their intervention.

Its lawyer Philip Kagucia said the explanations by Amuti on how he acquired the money were unsatisfactory.

“Even the trial court took the view that several of the explanations given by the appellant defied belief,” he said in his submissions.

“Is the appellant entitled to property whose source he could not adequately explain, especially where there were indications of his involvement in corruption?” he posed.

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