The anti-graft body instead, asked Justice Nixon Sifuna to dismiss the application by Daniel Wambua, saying there is reasonable suspicion that the money was acquired through corrupt conduct by the accountant who worked for the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA).
Mr Wambua, who has since been interdicted, pleaded with the court to lift the freeze and allow him access to the Sh21.2 million for dowry payment.
The EACC told the court that Mr Wambua was relying on copies of screenshots from a WhatsApp group but has not explained or shown the connection between the group and the funds in the three bank accounts.
Further, the anti-graft body dismissed claims advanced by Mr Wambua that some of the proceeds were from farming activities.
“It is not too much to expect that a person operating a legitimate business in agricultural or horticultural produce would have records of the sales and payments, as well as income tax returns that show the amount of produce, to whom the sale are made, the profits, if any and tax paid thereon,” the EACC submitted.
The anti-corruption agency told the court that photographs attached to the application of maize, beans, and cattle do not translate to the deposits of thousands of shillings in the three bank accounts at Equity.
Mr Wambua, through his lawyer Danstan Omari, informed the court that the deposits made to one of the bank accounts were mostly from the events that we held to improve contributions to pay the dowry.
Mr Omari said the first event was held on June 9, 2023, which was the official launch, raising Sh917,000. He said the money was deposited into the account the following day.
The court will rule on the application on November 9.
He said one of the three bank accounts frozen is a fixed account holding Sh5 million, while one is his salary account and holds Sh264,707. A third bank account holds Sh15.1 million.
The lawyer said Mr Wambua held four events before the main dowry ceremony and participants launched several online challenges before a goat-eating event, which happened on July 28.
“After the dowry ceremony, some people were involved in an accident and we had to attend to them on August 7th and 8th, 2023 thus impossible to pay the dowry on that day. On August 9, 2023, my accounts were frozen thus making it impossible for me to pay the dowry,” he said in an affidavit filed in court.
A budget presented to the court showed that the official would spend a total of Sh20.2 million for the two-day ceremony.
The expenses include a dowry payment of Sh8.9 million, food, tents, chairs, photography, transport, and security that would gobble the rest.
But EACC said there was a systematic pattern of deposits of between Sh300,000 and Sh600,000 every month, mostly made by a man identified as James Kivuva, who is suspected to be a proxy having made a total of Sh1.9 million. The funds were later transferred to different accounts, EACC submitted.
“That there is reasonable suspicion that the huge amounts received in several accounts of the respondent are monies that have been acquired through abuse of officer, bribes or misappropriation of public funds through his office,” EACC said.
EACC said Mr Wambua earns a monthly salary of Sh56,000 but had made deposits of Sh1.78 million in three months, which is above what he earns in one year.
The EACC further submitted that they conducted a search at his home and recovered a total of Sh700,000 in cash. Half a million shillings had been hidden in his bedroom while Sh200,000 had been kept in a safe, which was carted away by investigators and was opened after he brought the key.
→ First published in Business Daily