Gachagua freed on Sh12m cash bail
Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua finally walked to freedom yesterday after paying a cash bail of Sh12 million after denying Sh7.4 billion corruption-related charges.
The lawmaker had been ordered to deposit a Sh12 million cash bail or Sh25 million by Milimani Anti-Corruption Chief Lawrence Mugambi on condition he deposits his passport with the court and not to contact or interfere with witnesses lined up to testify in the case.
“The MP to be detained at the court precincts from this hour until 5pm and if he will not have posted bail, he will be remanded at Industrial Area Remand Prison,” he said.
Yesterday, Gachagua, an ardent supporter of Deputy President William Ruto, arrived at Milimani Law Courts at 8.45 am in a police car under a very tight security and was held at the court’s cells until 11 am.
This was after spending three agonising nights in police cells following his arrest on Friday from his Nyeri home by the DCI detectives.
He was driven to Nairobi where he was grilled for close to six hours before being locked up at Gigiri Police Station.
Conflict of interest
At 11:25 am, Gachagua was presented in court and denied several charges ranging from fraudulent acquisition of public property, money laundering, acquisition of proceeds of crime, conflict of interest and conspiracy to defraud Nyeri county government Sh27 million.
As the court clerk read out the charges, Gachagua donning a brown dapper winter outfit with a white shirt, listened attentively while gazing at the magistrate and often scratching his head, perhaps asking himself why this was happening to him.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) through Victor Owiti did not oppose the release of the MP on bail but urged the court to release him on bail terms that are commensurate with the amounts and charges facing him.
His 10 lawyers that included Kioko Kilukumi, Alice Wahome, Gladys Shollei, Kipchumba Murkomen, Sylvanus Osoro, Irungu Kangata, Gibson Kimani, Wycliffe Nyabuto, Amos Kisiwi and Paul Gacheru sought to have him freed on bail.
The defence team led by Kilukumi put up a spirited fight to have their client released on bail arguing that by being a Member of Parliament, he is not a flight risk.
In the case , Gachagua is charged alongside nine others who were not before the court.
They include William Wahome Mwangi, Anne Nduta Ruo, Julianne Jahenda Makaa, Samuel Murimi, Grace Wambui Kariuki, Lawrence Kimaru, Irene Wambui Ndigiriri, David Reuben and a company M/s Rapid Medical Supplies.
The charge sheet stated that on diverse dates between 2013 and 2020 in Nairobi, he allegedly fraudulently received Sh7,330,011,265 through three bank accounts domiciled at Rafiki Micro-Finance bank while knowing that the monies were proceeds of crime.
He was charged that on December 29, 2014 in Nairobi county, jointly with others not before the court, he fraudulently acquired Sh6 million public funds for supply of dialysis machines to Nyeri Provincial General Hospital.
The MP was charged with money laundering for allegedly receiving a total of Sh104,821,205 from Bungoma county government between January 2018 and June 2019, with intent to unlawfully dispose of monies.
He is also alleged to have received Sh7,583,505 from Kwale County Government with intent to unlawfully dispose of the money.
The MP was also charged with conflict of interest on grounds that between October 2018 and January 2019 being the Member of Parliament for Mathira Constituency, he privately benefited from a contract awarded for construction of Njathaini Primary School which was funded by the Mathira Constituency Development Fund.
The contract, according to the charge sheet, was awarded to a company owned by one of Gacagua’s close associates.
The Magistrate further issued summons to the other nine accused persons who were not present in court. They will be required to attend court on August 3 for plea taking.
The matter will now be handled by Magistrate Rose Makhungu as directed by Mugambi.
After the session, members of the Tanga Tanga wing claimed the bond terms granted were excessive.
Addressing journalists outside the court, Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa said the case against Gachagua shows that the fight against corruption under President Uhuru Kenyatta’s regime will never succeed as most prosecutions are politically instigated.