A former director of the Lands Commission has forfeited Sh18 million seized from her house to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
High Court Judge John Onyiego said the monies taken from Salome Munubi were unexplained assets.
Munubi is a former Land Valuation director with the NLC.
The EACC had told the court that the monies were part of kickbacks received to facilitate illegal approval and payout to claimants for land illegally acquired from the Kenya Railways reserve.
Onyiego disagreed with EACC that the monies were bribes because no proof of bribery negotiation or payment was presented.
“It is not enough to state that somebody engaged in corrupt conduct simply because money was recovered from her house and which money her husband claimed ownership of,” he said.
He faulted Munubi's husband, Sostenah Taracha, and daughter Risper Bwari for failing to provide evidence on how the monies were obtained.
“I am satisfied that Munubi had given a reasonable explanation that the money found in her house belonged to her husband and the same lacks co-relation with bribery claims,” Onyiego said.
The daughter had claimed that the money was part of Sh21 million her Sudanese stepfather gave her to buy a house.
But Onyiego said there was no evidence of official declaration either to the Sudanese Embassy or Central Bank of Kenya that such a large of sum of money had been brought into the country, when and by who.
“There was nothing produced, documentary or otherwise, to show that the money was from one Ibrahim Issa.
“Issa, who is alive, did not come to court as a witness to claim the ownership of the money and establish that it was legal money, not bribery or corrupt conduct like money laundering,” the judge said.
Judge observed that the lack of explanation on how the money was obtained and failure to call Issa meant the defence was hiding some evidence.
“In the absence of my explanation as to how the money was obtained from Sudan, the burden of proof shifts to the father and daughter to satisfactorily explain and justify the legitimacy of the asset,” he said.
Onyiego said the cash may have been proceeds of money laundering.
“Although there is no law prohibiting people from keeping money in their houses, it is questionable when such huge amounts of money cannot be connected to a lawful source of income,” he said.
Onyiego said he is satisfied that EACC has proved its case against father and daughter and that the money recovered from Munubi's house amounts to unexplained assets, hence the forfeiture.