[SIZE=7]Govt Engineer With Ksh1 Billion in Bank Fights to Keep Wealth From EACC[/SIZE]
[li]By FRIDA KINGORI on 11 November 2021[/li][/ul]
A regional manager at Kenya Rural Roads Agency (KeRRA) has defended the source of his Kshs1 billion empire stating his wealth was not acquired from kickbacks and bribes.
Benson Musila Muteti maintained he amassed his wealth from running various businesses including bars, hardware stores, and schools, with some of the assets acquired before he joined the agency in the 1990s.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission(EACC) has accused Muteti of acquiring his wealth through dubious means by awarding tenders to his brother as well as through kickbacks and bribes from contractors. As a result, the anti-graft body has managed to seize at least Ksh500 million held in Muteti’s accounts.
Ethics and Anti-Corruption Comission (EACC) Offices at Integrity centre
However, the government engineer, through his lawyer Migos Ogamba, told High Court Judge Esther Maina that EACC had not identified any property acquired through corruption.
"There is no complaint of corruption against him. What is the justification for the applicant (EACC) to freeze and seek to recover property acquired before the period under investigation,” he stated to the court.
He also stated that the evidence tabled in court had not been challenged claiming that his client had acquired most of his assets as early as 1994 through instalments.
The KeRRA manager also told the court that the anti-graft body had not identified any contractor, individual, or company who offered him bribes to acquire tenders from the road agency.
“Despite the so-called credible information in the possession of the EACC, of me committing corruption and criminal offences, by demanding and receiving bribes and kickbacks, the EACC has never summoned me and has never questioned me about the said allegations,” he said in an affidavit.
EACC earlier this year forced Muteti to forfeit his properties to the government, with the claim that they were proceeds of crime, and hence proceeded to freeze Muteti’s bank accounts.
The anti-graft body linked Ksh752 million to Masila and his wife. Muteti’s schools include Mumbe Junior; Mumbe Boys School, Mumbe Girls School and have a reported value of Ksh372 million which EACC detectives have termed as questionable. His Mumbe Hardware is claimed to be worth Ksh87 million.
The engineer pleaded with the court to lift the order freezing his assets, citing that he should not be deprived of accessing his properties as he has no plans to sell them.
Through the affidavit, he stated that should the court continue to uphold the order, it should be on specific properties, not a blanket order.