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Obado held over eight guns seized at homes

James Magayi and Alvin Mwangi @PeopleDailyKe

The dawn for Migori Governor Okoth Obado since his release on cash bail three weeks ago is facing a rapid relapse following his dramatic arrest yesterday in connection with eight firearms unearthed from his residences two days ago.

The governor, who is out on Sh5 million bail over the murder of his girlfriend, 27-year-old Sharon Otieno, who was a university student and her seven-month-old foetus, was pounced on by Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers as he emerged from a function at the Hilton Hotel presided over by Deputy President William Ruto. 

Police are trying to determine how Obado acquired the eight pistols and why he kept them at his residences. The officers bid their time as Obado attended a partnership and development forum chaired by the Deputy President William Ruto before cutting short his freedom.

Impending arrest

Obado, who appeared aware of the lurking DCI officers tried to leave the hotel shortly after the Deputy President but was promptly arrested at 2:30pm by the officers from Special Crime Prevention Unit (SCPU).  

With the heavy presence of Ruto’s security details milling around, few suspected that another group of officers would be lurking outside to arrest the sharply-dressed Governor who had walked into the meeting a VIP. 

The officers had camped outside the hotel from as early as 10 am, apparently waiting for him to first be done with the DP. Then came the swoop. It is not clear whether the DP with whom Obado has recently established warm rapport was aware of his impending arrest.    

The governor was then driven to DCI headquarters where he was processed and incarcerated. His lawyer Cliff Ombeta rushed to the DCI headquarters where Obado was taken and confirmed   his arrest was solely based on the recovered guns. 

“We don’t know what is going on so we cannot really comment but this arrest is about guns. We have to go in and find out what he is being accused of before we can make any statements but the governor is a licenced gun holder,” Ombeta said last evening.

DCI director  George Kinoti had on Tuesday indicated that the firearms would be subjected to ballistic examinations as a precaution before either handing them back or otherwise.

And confirming Obado’s arrest, Kinoti said they would detain him for the entire night untill this morning when he would be arraigned.  According to Kinoti, police are likely to seek for more time from the court to complete investigations.

Criminal charges

The Central Firearms Bureau (CFB) was also incorporated for verification of the eight firearm’s certificates. It is the findings of the CFB and ballistic examination results that culminated in Obado’s arrest. 

The latest arrest brings to three, the number of criminal charges dogging Obado who three weeks ago secured release from Industrial Area Remand Prison where he was held alongside two aides over the double murder. 

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) are also pursuing corruption charges against the governor, who is alleged to have used proxies to siphon Sh2.9 billion from county coffers in fictitious tender deals. It was in the course of gathering evidence related to the graft charges that EACC officers stumbled upon the lethal cache in Obado’s residences.

EACC officers led a coordinated swoop on Obado’s residences on Tuesday where the eight guns were carted away alongside electronic communication gadgets and bank statements believed to be linked to the graft case.

Five of the guns were found in the governor’s Lavington apartment used by his children while three were recovered from his palatial Rapogi home. The home in Rapogi is also a subject of EACC probe as it is suspected its construction was from proceeds of the money allegedly looted from the county government. 

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