Kenya: Ex-City Hall Boss Fails to Stop Seizure of Runda Home, Sh282 Million

29 September 2020

The Court of Appeal on Monday declined to suspend a decision allowing the government to seize Sh282 million in bank accounts and a Runda house belonging to former City Hall chief finance officer Jimmy Kiamba and his wife.

A bench of three judges instead directed the appeal by Mr Kiamba and Tracy Mbinya to be heard without delay, granting the State the right to seize the assets.

Mr Kiamba had petitioned the judges to freeze the confiscation of his banks accounts and a property in Runda worth Sh35 million, pending the outcome of an appeal, where he protested the probe of his financial dealings without his knowledge.

The former finance chief was accused of amassing a total of Sh1.3 billion in about five years he was at City Hall.

He deposited more than Sh400 million between January and November 2014 despite earning a monthly salary of Sh85,000.

EACC said Mr Kiamba deposited large sums of money in several accounts held at CfC Stanbic Bank (Sh719 million), Standard Chartered Bank (Sh312 million), Equity Bank (Sh286 million), Co-operative Bank (Sh32.1 million) and Gulf Africa (Sh39.1million).

Mr Kiamba on average deposited Sh23.6 million monthly through proxies including City Hall accountants, security staff, clerks and his official driver between August 2009 and February 2015, according to court documents.

In the ruling the judges of appeal said the case involves allegations of corruption and theft of public resources which are matters of great public importance and interest.

"Furthermore, we are satisfied that this court is capable of determining the issues of interpretation and application of the Constitution raised in the appeal and that, as the respondents rightly points out, by dint of Article 8 163(4) of the Constitution, any aggrieved party has a right of appeal to the Supreme Court," Justices Martha Koome, Kathurima M'Inoti and Sankale ole Kantai ruled.

Mr Kiamba wanted the decision suspended arguing that a case pending before the Supreme Court was likely to affect the outcome of his appeal because just like the case pending before the top court, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) failed to notify him before investigating his eleven bank accounts.

He said the Court of Appeal ruled last year that EACC was required by sections 26, 27, and 28 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act to notify any suspect, which it failed to do.

The anti-graft body and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) later filed an appeal and the Supreme Court suspended the decision, pending determination of the petition.

His lawyer, Senior Counsel Tom Ojienda, had argued that the case should be suspended awaiting the outcome of the Supreme Court's determination.

But EACC, through Philip Kaguchia, said the matter pending before the Supreme Court was distinct from Mr Kiamba's case.

The money and assets which were to be taken over by the government include revenue Mr Kiamba claimed he got from sale of cattle amounting to Sh21,971,810, another Sh17,094,610, he claimed were from sale of wheat, Sh12,478,430 he said were from sale of maize and Sh228,103,754, he said were from transport and quarry services he runs.

Mr Kiamba, however, had satisfactorily explained how he had obtained some of the properties, among them a house along Naivasha Avenue and another home in Muthaiga.

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