NYS: Former PS Lillian Mbogo-Omollo told to adjust lavish lifestyle, denied access to millions
Former Youth Affairs Principal Secretary Lillian Mbogo Omollo has failed to convince the High Court to vary orders freezing her accounts and to allow her withdraw about Sh6.8 million quarterly, towards repayment of a loan among other bills.
Justice Hedwig Ong’udi, however, directed Ms Omollo to withdraw only Sh2 million from one of the accounts that were frozen last year.
In the decision, Justice Ong’udi said things were not the same for the former PS after she was charged in court.
The judge said Ms Omollo owns a productive farm that can provide for her family’s needs.
“There is a lot of room for the 1st applicant to adjust her lifestyle to fit her current financial status,” the judge said and directed that case on the forfeiture of the funds frozen by Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) fast tracked.
Justice Ong’udi disagreed with Ms Omollo on varying the orders freezing the accounts, ruling that granting her the orders would defeat the purpose for which the preservation was made.
Ms Omollo argued before the court, through lawyer Stephen Ligunya, that the freezing of her accounts had occasioned her and her dependents hardship.
Mr Ligunya told the court that she has been paying mortgage, which requires servicing plus other utility bills.
The bills according to papers filed in court includes servicing the loan at Kenya Commercial Bank of Sh150,000, school fees amounting to Sh5.2 million, another school fees of three dependents of Sh139,800 and payment of domestic workers of Sh219,000.
Other payments include: upkeep for elderly parents (Sh150,000), utility bills (Sh102,079), fuel and maintenance of vehicles (Sh449,000), food (sh150,000) and incidentals (Sh210,000).
He accounts at Equity and Diamond Trust Banks were frozen on October 29, 2018 after ARA filed an urgent application arguing that they have reasonable grounds to believe that the funds were stolen from National Youth Service.
The accounts had in total about Sh33 million.
The accounts frozen include six accounts at Equity Bank registered in the names of Lilian Muthoni Mbogo which had $67,331.9, an account in the name of LIDI Estates Ltd which had $28,981, another account in the same bank and the same name and which had Sh2,297,495 and another with $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.
In reply, ARA through lawyer Mohammed Adow told the court that she has failed to show how the funds were acquired and preliminary investigations indicate that they could be proceeds of crime and should be forfeited to the government.
The judge said there is high public interest in the money, subject of a criminal case pending in court, a matter that cannot be wished away.