In a plea to the court, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has strongly advocated against allowing any withdrawals from the bank accounts linked to Pastor Ezekiel Odero, asserting that such actions would compromise the progress of the ongoing investigations.
The plea follows an application filed by Pastor Ezekiel’s legal team, seeking permission to withdraw a substantial sum of Ksh.50 million from his frozen accounts. The requested funds were intended to support various endeavors, including the functioning of the church, school, and an ongoing construction project at Kilifi International University.
During the court hearing, the investigating officer, Martin Munene, emphasized that unfreezing either a portion or the entirety of the accounts would prejudice the investigations. Munene urged the court to grant the DCI sufficient time to conclude their inquiries before considering any monetary transactions related to the case. In response, Trial Magistrate Ben Mark Ekhubi directed that he would deliver his ruling on the matter the following day, at 11 am.
In a bid to present the detrimental consequences of the frozen accounts, Pastor Ezekiel’s legal team, led by Danstan Omari, argued earlier this week that the funds held in these accounts were crucial for aiding children, assisting the underprivileged, and ensuring the smooth operation of the church. The closure of the accounts, they stressed, had far-reaching negative implications, particularly for the church and school. With over 2,000 students reliant on daily support, the disruption caused by the frozen accounts would create an overwhelming logistical challenge.
Among the respondents in this case are prominent banks such as Co-operative, NCBA, Equity, and KCB, along with the Housing Finance Corporation and Safaricom. Pastor Ezekiel’s appeal to the court requested a revision of the previous orders issued on May 8, 2023, allowing limited transactions totaling Kshs. 50 million from the frozen accounts solely for the purpose of maintaining the operations of the church, school, and ministry, namely the New Life Prayer Centre, church, and Kilifi International School.
Highlighting the impracticality of imposing a thirty-day closure on the accounts, Pastor Ezekiel’s lawyer emphasized that such a move would leave a multitude of dependents destitute and devoid of necessary support. The lawyer further stressed the direct impact on the well-being of over 2,000 students, contending that they would bear the brunt of the court’s order.
This legal action follows a recent decision by the High Court in Mombasa, which rejected the request to unfreeze Pastor Ezekiel’s 28 bank accounts and seven M-Pesa accounts, as authorities investigate allegations of money laundering. The televangelist, who was arrested two weeks prior, stands accused of involvement in the Shakahola mass killings in Kilifi County. However, Pastor Ezekiel vehemently denies these claims, as outlined in the affidavit accompanying his application.
In the affidavit, Pastor Ezekiel emphatically refutes any association with Pastor Mackenzie, asserting that no connection exists between their operations to justify the closure of his accounts. He highlights the severe repercussions resulting from the freezing of his accounts, particularly with regard to the daily well-being and upkeep of the over 2,000 students attending the church’s school.
As the court deliberates on the matter, all eyes are on the forthcoming ruling, which will determine whether the freeze on Pastor Ezekiel Odero’s bank accounts will be upheld or modified to accommodate the essential operations of the church, school, and ministry.