Besieged Migori governor Okoth Obado reportedly attempted to escape a police dragnet moments before his arrest on Wednesday.
According to a report by the Standard, Mr Obado was arrested in the basement of Hilton Hotel as he tried to leave in a taxi. He had left midway through an event where Deputy President William Ruto was meeting a group of international development partners, cabinet secretaries, and governors.
Detectives said Obado had called a taxi and asked the management of the five-star hotel to allow it to drive into the basement. Escorted by his bodyguards, he walked towards the VIP washrooms on the first floor before proceeding to the basement.
Some minutes after Obado had left DP Ruto’s function, five plain-clothes officers with walkie-talkies came into the hotel and were directed towards the governor’s direction.
An armed officer who had realised the governor’s seat was empty followed Obado to the basement and stopped the taxi.
The officer then asked Obado to step out and the two walked up a ramp to the ground floor to the entrance opposite International House.
Meanwhile, news of Obado’s impending arrest had attracted many people, including journalists who were covering events in other boardrooms at the hotel. They camped near the door of the room of the DP’s function on the mezzanine floor to watch the arrest unfold.
The governor was then taken into a waiting police car and driven to the offices of the Special Crimes Prevention Unit (SCPU) off Ngong Road. He was later moved to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters along Kiambu Road.
At the SCPU, Obado called his lawyers, Cliff Ombeta and Roger Sagana who arrived minutes later. Obado’s daughter, Susan, also arrived and briefly talked to her father before he was driven away to the DCI.
The county boss was informed that he was under arrest because a pistol found in his Migori home was suspected to be unregistered.
Obado defended himself saying he was not present when the weapon and seven others were recovered. Five of the weapons were recovered from his house in Lavington, Nairobi, while three were seized from his Migori house.
EACC detectives said the weapons were stashed under a mattress in Obado’s bedroom.
Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said ballistic tests would be done to establish if the guns have been used in any crime.
“We want to know if the weapons have been used in any crime. After ballistic tests, we will know more and the way forward,” said Mr Kinoti.
Additional Reporting by Standard