A wealthy traffic officer could lose his wealth after a court on Wednesday gave the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) the go-ahead to recover the assets.
Justice Njoki Mwangi ordered Chief Inspector Gabriel Mbiti Mulei to hand over Sh10.5 in his four bank accounts, seven plots of land valued at Sh19.4 million, five cars, and a motorcycle.
The properties are unexplained assets, said justice Mwangi on a forfeiture lawsuit brought by the anti-graft agency in 2015 on the grounds that the officer was suspected of engaging in corruption.
She ordered him to pay Sh10,536,199 – the total amount money he deposited in his bank accounts between June 18, 2008, and February 18, 2011 – to the government.
“It is my finding that Mulei did not offer any explanation as to why deposits amounting to Sh10,536,199 were made to his various bank accounts, excluding his salary account,” said the judge.
The court ordered that the payment be made in 30 days. Court documents also showed that Mulei made a meagre Sh20,000 per month.
The plots are located in Ndithini/Mananja, Kwale Township, and Malindi.
According to the judge, Mulei was unable to demonstrate the source of the money used to buy the plots and the vehicles.
The Malindi traffic base commander’s assets, which were out of proportion to his known legitimate source of income, were deemed to have been proceeds of crime, the court observed.
“The properties the subject of this suit, as well as the deposits in his bank accounts, raise questions with respect to their sources. I am satisfied, on the evidence placed before me by EACC, that Mulei has unexplained assets,” said the judge.
The officer, according to her, was required by law to provide sufficient proof of how the assets were acquired. The judge stated that when it came time for him to prove his case, “he made a pathetic attempt to answer to the claims by EACC by asserting that he had been in active job for 20 years and had been receiving a respectable salary.”
Additionally, the officer said that he had a “side business” that had increased his income. He added that he was a member of the police sacco and that he had served in various capacities in the Coast region.
He claimed, however, that he was unable to locate the records for the purchase of the aforementioned land parcels.
The court was informed that Mulei was seeking bribes from motorists in Malindi while acting as the traffic base commander, according to information that EACC had received. The deployment to Malindi took place in February 2008.
A search at Mulei’s home, according to EACC investigator Mutembei Nyagah, turned up papers showing that he had accounts with Barclays, Equity, Cooperative, and Standard Chartered banks.
According to Mr Nyagah, there is a good chance that the accounts were utilized as “conduits” for the acquisition and concealment of illicit money.
Additionally, it was claimed that Mulei’s salary account at Barclays Bank Nairobi showed that he had collected several millions of shillings in excess of his salary over the course of his employment as the base commander.