DPP opposes reopening of Pastor Ezekiel Odero's bank accounts

Pastor Ezekiel Odero

Pastor Ezekiel Odero during a service at his New Life Prayer Centre Church in Mavueni, Kilifi County, on May 7, 2023. 

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has opposed the reopening of 28 bank accounts belonging to controversial kilifi Pastor Ezekiel Odero, saying they are probing leads into money laundering.

Through Senior Assistant DPP Virgina Kariuki, Mr Haji urged Milimani Magistrate Ben Mark Ekhubi not to vary his orders freezing Pastor Ezekiel's accounts and his seven M-Pesa lines until the High court in Mombasa delivers its ruling on the matter.

Ms Kariuki, while objecting to an attempt by the pastor's lawyers to unfreeze his bank accounts, stated that they obtained the orders "with clean hands "as they were not aware of the matter lodged by the pastor at the High Court in Mombasa.

She said police are investigating the accounts to establish the source of the funds and whether they are proceeds of crime.

"We want to know the source of the funds. That is why we are here. The judge stated that the ruling will be issued on Monday. We were not aware they had moved to Shanzu court," she said.

Ms Kariuki urged the magistrate to await the outcome of the High Court case, noting that superior court decisions supersede pronouncements by subordinate courts.

The preacher, through his lawyers Danstan Omari, Sam Nyaberi and Cliff Ombeta, protested against the DPP request to await the outcome of the High Court case, saying the current freeze orders have grounded the operations of the New Life Church and  Kilifi International School.

Omari told the magistrate to unfreeze the accounts of the school claiming that over 3000 children that the preacher's  support and feeds are suffering due to lack of funds.

He accused the state of being insensitive saying that 'the Government does not give birth to children."

"The state eats it's own children and the state does not give birth to any child to know the pain that  it inflicts on human beings", he argued.

Mr Omari argued that the State obtained the orders through fraud, misrepresentation and forum-shopping while Mr Ombeta the State tried to be mischievious and ended up misleading the Judiciary and the DPP, which are now exposed to embarrassment

The Kilifi-based preacher moved to court on Monday saying the freeze orders obtained by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations had resulted in hardships and catastrophic effects.

He is challenging the court order that barred him and his associates from withdrawing or transferring money for at least 30 days as police conduct investigations.The order was served to managers at Co-operative, NCBA, Equity and KCB banks, the Housing Finance Cooperation and Safaricom.

The frozen bank accounts are in the name of Kilifi International School, which has 16 accounts at Co-op and seven at NCBA. The other accounts are at Equity, KCB and HFC, each registered in his name.

M-Pesa accounts linked to seven mobile phone numbers belonging to the pastor were also frozen. 

Police suspect the money was from victims who were radicalised and forced to sell their properties and surrender the proceeds to the preacher.

The ongoing investigations on Pastor Ezekiel were lodged by police days after Mr Mackenzie was arrested and detained. He is under investigation for crimes including aiding suicide, murder, abduction, radicalisation, genocide, crimes against humanity, child cruelty, fraud and money laundering.

Magistrate Enkubi will deliver his ruling at 9am on Friday.