EACC opposes governor's appeal to unfreeze bank accounts

Agency says Lenolkulal has not proved the money in the accounts was not acquired corruptly

In Summary

•The amount in all bank accounts is Sh14.6 million.

•Charges include corruption, economic crimes, bribery, conflict of interest. 

Samburu governor Moses Lenolkunal at a Milimani court on April 2, 2019.
Samburu governor Moses Lenolkunal at a Milimani court on April 2, 2019.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has opposed an application by Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal seeking to set aside court orders freezing his bank accounts.

Lenolkulal wants the court to lift the orders for him to access his salary. 

The governor, in the application filed last month, says he is not able to access his salary to cater for his personal and family subsistence, utility bills and other accruing expenses.

The county boss wants the court to vary the orders on grounds that the EACC did not demonstrate an imminent risk of transfer or withdrawal of funds.

The EACC argued that the application is defective, lacks merit and the court should dismiss it.

In an affidavit sworn by investigating officer Joel Khisa, the commission says they applied for the freezing of accounts because they are investigating allegations of corruption, economic crimes, bribery, conflict of interest, among contractors and various public officials of the county government. 

The total amount held cumulatively in all the accounts is Sh14.6 million that was frozen by the court.

In the charges, Sh1.6 billion is alleged to have been misappropriated between January 31, 2013, and December 31, last year.

“The orders were obtained pursuant to the provisions of section 56 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act which expressly provides that the application for preservation orders made ex parte,” court documents read.

The EACC further argues that Lenolkulal has not demonstrated to the court that the money was not acquired as a result of corrupt conduct.

Khisa says they are only required to demonstrate that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the money was obtained as a result of corrupt conduct which they sufficiently demonstrated in its application and which the court found to be, hence the issuance of the orders.

“The governor has not demonstrated the source of the Sh121 million that is reasonably suspected to be the proceeds of corrupt conduct,” the commission argues.

According to EACC, Lenolkulal has only attached payslips in support of his application which do not add any weight to the application as the existence of a salary is not an issue in dispute. 

The commission asked the court to dismiss the application as, in some instances,  limiting certain individual rights is necessary to strike a balance with the public interest and other constitutional values such as good governance transparency and accountability.