EACC obtains court orders freezing KETRACO Manager’s Kes. 216M unexplained wealth
28:11:22: The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has been granted orders by the High Court to freeze assets worth Kes. 216,374,181.94 belonging to Peter Maina Njehia, Senior Manager, Supply Chain at the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited (KETRACO).
Delivering her ruling on 24 November 2022, Lady Justice Esther Maina said that the Commission had established a prima facie case with a probability of success to warrant the issue of injunction orders pending the hearing and determination of the forfeiture proceedings.
The Commission went to Court following an investigation into allegations of unexplained wealth, unethical conduct, bribery and conflict of interest against the KETRACO official.
The Commission informed the Court that between January 2010 and March 2021, when Njehia was reasonably suspected of engaging in corruption, he acquired assets worth Kes. 278,049,625.39 against his known total legitimate income of Kes. 40,242,855.99 for the said period thereby resulting in assets disproportion of Kes. 237,806,769.40. Notably, at the time of the acquisition of the said assets, Peter Maina Njehia had received funds from individuals and institutions that had secured tenders with his employer (KETRACO).
In one instance, Sieyuan Electric Company Limited which had been awarded a tender by KETRACO deposited a total of Kes. 3,000,000.00 in two bank accounts belonging to Njehia’s spouse. Similarly, Njehia received Kes. 400,000.00 and Kes. 85,000.00 respectively from Jooyato Surveys Limited and Jacob Oyato, a Director of Jooyato Surveys Limited at a time the said company had been awarded several contracts by KETRACO.
The Court also heard that an amount of Kes. 1,020, 000.00 in cash was seized from his motor vehicle. The source of the said cash could not be reasonably ascertained.
Consequently, the Commission, pursuant to sections 26 & 55 (2) of ACECA on 25th April, 2022 issued a Notice to Peter Maina Njehia to explain the disproportion in his assets with his known legitimate source(s) of income.
The Commission received a response on 17th May 2022 which response was considered and after analysis cumulative assets valued at Kshs. 21,432,587.46 was found to have been satisfactorily explained leaving out an unexplained disproportion of Kshs 216,374,181.94.
Following his inability to explain the source of assets worth Kes. 216,374,181.94, the Commission on 14th September 2022 issued a demand Notice requiring him to remit the unexplained assets to the Commission for return to the public. He failed to comply with the demand to surrender the assets prompting the Commission to institute recovery proceedings.
In accordance with the provisions of Section 55(2) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003 (ACECA), the Commission on 22nd September 2022 filed a suit at the High Court in Nairobi seeking forfeiture of the unexplained assets valued at Kes. 216,374,181.94 to the Government of Kenya.
Filed contemporaneously with the forfeiture suit was an application under Certificate of Urgency for injunction orders to forestall any dealings with the unexplained assets pending the hearing and determination of the forfeiture proceedings.
The EACC application came up for ruling on 24th May 2021 before Justice Esther Maina who issued the preservation orders sought. The orders will be in force until the matter is heard and determined.
Asset recovery is one of the key strategies behind the milestones realized by the Commission so far. Speaking at a regional governance summit held in Kigali, Rwanda on 17th November 2022, the Commission’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Abdi Mohamud said that forfeiture of corruptly acquired assets could be the ultimate panacea to the scourge of corruption in Africa. Asset recovery, he said, takes away the motivation for illicit enrichment and this is essential for the deterrence required in the fight.
Among the properties recovered by the Commission is 53 acres of prime land belonging to the Meteorological Department located in Nairobi City’s Industrial Area off Enterprise Road valued at approximately Kes. 5 Billion. The land is currently being utilized for construction of affordable houses to benefit low-income-earning citizens. The project was launched by President William Ruto last month.
In July this year, the Commission recovered and returned to the public grabbed land valued at KES.430,000,000. The land had been reserved as an interchange for Mombasa Road & Eastern Bypass at Cabanas. The fraudulent & illegal transfer was effected in 2001 by ex-Commissioner of Lands Sammy Mwaita.