Kenya: Lilian Omollo Fights for Sh30 Million Frozen Cash

21 January 2020

Former Youth and Gender Permanent Secretary Lilian Omollo put up a spirited fight to save about Sh30 million frozen by a State agency, arguing that the money was part of her salary earned before joining the ministry.

While making submissions before Justice Mumbi Ngugi on Monday, Ms Omollo said the money in some of the six accounts, which was frozen last year, was salary and gratuity paid after leaving her job at New Partnership for Africa Development (Nepad) in 2015.

Through her lawyer Stephen Ligunya, Ms Omollo added that when she joined the Jubilee government as a PS, her salary was also channelled to one of the accounts, which was frozen through an application by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA).

The agency successfully applied for freezing of the amount, slightly over Sh30 million, stating that they suspected it to be illegal money from National Youth Service (NYS).

But Mr Ligunya told the court that there was nothing to link the funds to NYS or proof that any money was lost while she served as PS.

To buttress her point, Ms Omollo said the Auditor General gave NYS a clean bill of health in his qualified opinion for the year ended June 30, 2017.

"How is it then that the applicant (ARA) came to the conclusion that money was lost and ought to be recovered? To show that money was lost, they must bring evidence, but there is nothing before court," Mr Ligunya said.

He further stated that part of the money was proceeds from her farm in Rarieda, Siaya County and her husband's pay from a consultancy firm in South Sudan.

He further said they have attached receipts of purchase of firm inputs, deposit and withdrawal slips to show that the accounts were active.

In reply, ARA through lawyer Mohamed Adow said the agency gave Ms Omollo time to explain how she made the money but her explanations were not satisfactory.

Ms Adow said it was not upon Ms Omollo to decide whether money was lost at NYS but she was duty-bound to explain how she acquired the funds.

The accounts frozen are at Equity Bank registered in the names of Lilian Muthoni Mbogo which had USD 67,331.9, an account in the name of LIDI Estates Ltd which had US D 28,981, another account in the same bank and the same name and which had Sh2,297,495 and another with US D 8,979.83.

Another account at Equity in Ms Omollo's name had Sh1.68 million, while another account registered trading as Sahara consultants held at Diamond Trust Bank had Sh5.65 million and three accounts registered in her children's names had more than Sh11 million.

Documents filed in court state that the amounts were deposited between January 2016 and March 2018. Ms Omollo was appointed PS for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs on December 18, 2015.

Justice Mumbi will give her judgment on March 25.

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