Court allows Pastor Ezekiel to press for unfreezing of bank accounts

PAstor Ezekiel

Pastor Ezekiel Odero conducts at his New Life Prayer Centre Church in Mavueni area, Kilifi County in this file photo.

Photo credit: KEvin Odit I Nation Media Group

Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji suffered a setback on Friday when a court dismissed a preliminary objection to Pastor Ezekiel Odero’s prayer for a review of the orders that froze his 30 bank accounts.

Milimani senior resident magistrate Ben Mark Ikhubi dismissed the DPP’s plea not to allow Pastor Ezekiel to argue his case for the review of the freeze orders.

The pastor, through lawyers Danstan Omari, Samson Nyaberi, Martina Suiga, Cliff Ombeta and Shadrack Wamboi, had pleaded with the magistrate to allow his request to review the May 8 orders ex-parte - with one party in attendance.

He wants the court to permit him to withdraw Sh50 million from his accounts for operational costs for his New Life Prayer Centre and Church and Kilifi International School, which has 3,000 students.

Magistrate Ikhubi said the objection raised by the DPP lacks merit and noted that the law requires ex-parte orders (one party) to last 14 days. He also noted that the orders he gave on May 8, for to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe the 30 bank accounts, were to lapse after 30 days.

The dismissal of the DPPs objection paves the way for the clergyman, under investigation in connection to the Shakahola cult in Kilifi County, to press for the unfreezing of his bank accounts as wel;l as seven M-Pesa lines.

The magistrate further said that although the DPP held that he has no jurisdiction (power) to review the orders given by the court, he has a supervisory duty over police activities.

“Juxtaposing and flowing from the foregoing, this court did give a return-to-court date as May 17, where any affected party would have an opportunity to challenge the said orders granted,” he said.

He added that during the mention to establish the progress of the police investigations, any unsatisfied party was at liberty to inform the court of any matters.

While opposing Pastor Ezekiel'ss application, the DPP told the court it had exhausted its mandate to vacate the freeze orders it gave on May 8.

State prosecutor James Gachoka asked the court to refer the televangelist to the High Court to seek a review of the May 8 orders, telling Mr Ekhubi that he could not sit as an appellate court on his own judgement.

In his ruling Ekhubi said: “I hasten to pause granting the orders dated May 8 and as argued by Gachoka, the court becomes functus officio. How then could this court exercise its supervisory role over the investigating agencies on orders it granted ex-parte (single party)?"

In his ruling on Friday, however, the magistrate said the court has not become functus officio (lacking power) to review its earlier freeze orders since it is supposed to supervise and monitor the police in their probe into the pastor’s bank accounts.

Mr Ekhubi further noted that the 14 days for ex-parte orders will lapse on May 21, a Sunday. Consequently, he said the case will be mentioned the following day, for the police to give a status report on their probe.


You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.