Kenya: Rigathi Gachagua Faces Graft Charges in Sh12 Billion Saga

27 October 2020

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua is today set to be presented in court on charges of corruption and money laundering after he allegedly failed to explain the source of billions of shillings that passed through his bank accounts.

Mr Gachagua was last evening arrested by detectives from the Serious Fraud Unit attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) who had been looking for him since Sunday.

The MP was arrested as he returned home from Nyeri and was driven straight to the DCI headquarters on Kiambu Road for processing ahead of his court date.

The MP has been in the crosshairs of both the DCI and the Assets Recovery Agency for some time now over the way tenders involving his companies were issued.

"We should not let such people handle money collected by Kenyans for the purposes of service delivery," said DCI boss Goerge Kinoti.

In a suspected case of conflict of interest, says the DCI, a number of companies belonging to the MP were awarded tenders by the Mathira Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

Received tenders

Investigations by the DCI further show that a number of companies that received tenders from the constituency wired money to accounts belonging to the MP.

Asoma Enterprises and Jenne Enterprises, which got tenders worth Sh150 million from Mathira constituency, for instance, wired some of the money they received to entities owned by the MP, according to DCI.

While it is not the MP's companies that landed these particular tenders, the fact that Asoma and Jenne Enterprises sent money to Mr Gachagua's companies is what is raising questions.

Additionally, Mr Gachagua's personal assistant, Ms Jahenda Makaa, is a signatory of several companies that got tenders set aside for the youth in Mathira Constituency.

Questionable tenders

Apart from being a signatory in the 'youth owned' enterprises that received questionable tenders, Ms Makaa's company Sky Top Agencies, also received tenders worth millions of shillings.

Forensic analysis performed on the company through the integrated financial management information system (Ifmis) shows it received tenders totalling to Sh151 million.

The tenders were spread across the Nyeri and Vihiga county governments and the Lands ministry. Further forensic analysis showed that Sky Top Agencies sent some of the money it received to accounts belonging to the MP.

During questioning, Ms Makaa told detectives that she was a hair dresser before being introduced to the world of tenders.

Before the windfall, Ms Makaa also operated an M-Pesa shop in Buru Buru, Nairobi.

In total, the money that passed through Mr Gachagua's accounts stands at Sh12.5 billion.

All this money was transacted at different times through the MP's 10 accounts. A good chunk of this money was labeled as repayment of loans the MP advanced to companies, which received questionable tenders from a number of counties.

Of the 12.5 billion, the MP allegedly withdrew Sh7.3 billion, disbursed it to various companies and invested a portion in some assets.

As a result, the Assets Recovery Agency could only locate Sh5.2 billion The DCI and ARA have recorded statements from 102 people, including Meru Senator Mithika Linturi, former Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and Laikipia Senator John Kinyua, who are among high profile figures who reportedly transacted businesses with the MP in the past six months.

Mr Kinoti said the agency investigated a total of 33 accounts associated with the MP and his companies and medical supplies to hospitals in Bungoma, Kwale, Tharaka Nithi, Kisii, Nyeri and Nairobi, and transactions with government firms, including parastatals.

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