What you need to know:
- Coast regional manager at the Kenya Rural Roads Authority is fighting allegations that his wealth is built from kickbacks and bribes.
- Also frozen is Sh567.63 million in 22 bank accounts held at KCB, Cooperative Bank, National Bank of Kenya and Absa Bank.
The High Court has frozen assets valued at close to Sh1 billion owned by a senior official at a public roads agency pending determination of a case filed by the anti-corruption watchdog.
Justice Esther Maina has allowed a request by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to preserve the wealth worth Sh952 million temporarily until the forfeiture suit against Mr Benson Muteti Masila is determined.
Mr Masila, an engineer, and a civil servant working as the Coast regional manager at the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (Kerra), is fighting allegations that his wealth is built from kickbacks and bribes from road contractors.
In the injunction orders issued yesterday, he has been stopped from dealing with 27 properties, shares in multiple companies and schools linked to him, his wife Zipporah Mwongeli and their companies.
The properties include seven apartments, eight commercial and residential plots, two schools -- Mumbe Junior Academy and Mumbe Girls High School -- as well as shares worth Sh2.24 million, four vehicles and a hardware store worth Sh41 million.
Also frozen is Sh567.63 million in 22 bank accounts held at KCB, Cooperative Bank, National Bank of Kenya and Absa Bank.
“After considering the application by EACC, the balance tilts in favour of the applicant. The court allows the preservation of the assets until the (seizure and forfeiture) suit is determined,” said Justice Maina in the short ruling.
The injunction order restrains the sale, transfer, charging, leasing, developing, subdividing or disposing of the properties in question.
In urging the court to freeze the wealth, EACC said Mr Muteti’s bank accounts and real estate in Nairobi, Makueni and Kilifi counties could not have been acquired with his monthly salary of Sh390,000.
Through lawyer Pius Nyoike, EACC told the court that the properties were at risk of being sold if the freezing orders are not granted.
The commission said that the civil servant was a beneficiary of kickbacks from road contractors awarded tenders.
Conflict of interest
“Investigations were conducted and it was established that he was in possession of assets hugely disproportionate to his known legitimate source of income,” he said.
Mr Muteti amassed the wealth between February 2009 and December 2018 where his pay, according to court documents, would have totalled Sh136 million for the 119 months.
The EACC said multiple deposits were made into Mr Muteti’s 19 accounts at KCB and an account each at Cooperative Bank, NBK and Absa Bank, between February 2009 and December 2018.
He is also accused of awarding contracts to companies linked to him in conflict of interest and contrary to procurement laws. In response, Mr Muteti explained that he had other
He denied the properties were acquired through corruption, explaining that he acquired most of the wealth being pursued by the EACC as early as 1994.