Ex-PS Lillian Omollo allowed to withdraw Sh2m from frozen account

Public Service and Youth secretary Lillian Mbogo Omollo (R) sits in the dock at Milimani Law Courts with other suspects, for charges on the alleged theft of Sh9 billion from the National Youth Service, May 29, 2018. /REUTERS
Public Service and Youth secretary Lillian Mbogo Omollo (R) sits in the dock at Milimani Law Courts with other suspects, for charges on the alleged theft of Sh9 billion from the National Youth Service, May 29, 2018. /REUTERS

Former PS Lillian Omollo yesterday was allowed to withdraw Sh2 million from her frozen bank account to cater for living expenses. But the account will remain frozen.

Omollo is among tens of suspects charged with the National Youth Service scam.

She had asked the court to compel banks to release Sh6.8 million from her accounts to pay fees, buy food, fuel her Mercedes and cater for other bills.

Yesterday, Anti-Corruption Court judge Hedwig Ong’udi directed the bank to release Sh2 million and barred Omollo from making a similar application in the future.

In her application, Omollo said she wanted Sh6.8 million from which Sh5.2 million would pay fees for her children. Sh139,800 would pay fees for three dependents and Sh219,000 for wages for six domestic workers.

The ex-PS said Sh150,000 would go to her elderly parents for upkeep. Another Sh102,079 would cover electricity, water, WI-FI connection, telephone, DSTV and security.

Omollo said her car need fueling, maintenance and insurance totalling Sh449,000. She also needed some Sh150,000 for food and Sh210,000 for incidental and another Sh150,000 to service a loan.

Omollo told the court earlier orders which imposed a freeze on her bank accounts had denied her basic means of living causing undue hardship.

She also said her children’s right to education was being denied as a result. She said her KCB loan interest charges were increasing because she was unable to pay.

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She said the criminal trial might take too long before it is finalised, an eventuality that would expose her and the family to too much suffering.

The court heard that the utilities, including school fees amount to about Sh7 million every three months. She told the court the hardship caused outweighed the risk that the funds frozen may be forfeited or transferred.

The Asset Recovery Agency opposed the application, saying there was no evidence the expenses were catered for by the funds in the frozen accounts.

The agency said the former PS was unable to demonstrate how the funds were obtained. The agency said preliminary investigation found the money in her account was a proceed of crime.

Ong’udi said there was a huge public interest in the money in question which is subject of a criminal case facing the former PS. As such, “it cannot be wished away.”

She said Omollo has to adjust her lifestyle to fit into her current financial status. Ong’udi said that the farm the former PS owns can be productive enough to assist her if she has funds to operate it.

She allowed Omollo to withdraw Sh2 million from her account at Diamond Trust Bank with the rest of the funds to remain frozen pending determination of the case.

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