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Gachagua grilled a second time over Sh12b fraud claim

By Zadock Angira
Wednesday, October 28th, 2020
Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua. Photo/PD/File
In summary

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua was yesterday grilled for the second time over alleged embezzlement of Sh12.5 billion public funds at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters. 

Detectives said investigations into the matter were complex as suspects had conducted a series of transactions to make it difficult to detect source of the funds.

“What we have established is akin to a money laundering process termed layering where suspects employ multiple transactions and bookkeeping tricks aimed at making the trailing of illegal proceeds difficult,” a senior detective told People Daily.

Preliminary findings revealed  Gachagua was the sole beneficiary of Government tenders awarded to Asoma Enterprises, Jenne Enterprises, Skytop Agencies, Klinshine Ltd, Rapid Medical Supplies Ltd, Encartar Diagnostics Ltd, among others.

Detectives revealed they had since established that some bank and government officials and even county employees were deeply involved in the suspected fraudulent tenders.

“A Relationship Manager with Rafiki Micro Finance facilitated these complex transactions that involved multiple transactions within the bank,” an investigation report says. 

Detectives have so far recorded about 102 statements from witnesses. 

“Some will be suspects while others may be prosecution witnesses,” he added.

Among the witnesses who have recorded statements include former Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and Senators John Kinyua (Laikipia) and Mithika Linturi (Meru).

Kiunjuri, for instance, is said to have received Sh5.8 million from a company associated with Mathira CDF chairman, who is said to have imported several track shovels that Kiunjuri wanted to buy.

So far, DCI and the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) have frozen two of his accounts with more than Sh200 million in deposits.

Two accounts

The two accounts, one containing Sh165 million and the other Sh35 million, are both at Rafiki Micro Finance Bank.

Other ministries, State corporations, county governments and private entities being investigated are the National Irrigation Authority, Lake Victoria South Water Works Agencies, Ministries of Lands, Finance, Transport, Environment and Devolution. Others are the National Land Commission, Kenya Rural Roads Authority, Water Regulatory Authority, and Tana Works Development Agencies.

According to the detectives, some companies that were awarded tenders for road construction and water pans were owned by individuals,  who detectives said had no clue of what the tendering processes were, but were operating from the office of the MP. 

An incinerators supplied to Kwale by a company associated with the MP,  Encartar Diagnostic, is said to have broken down immediately after installation.

Gachagua is also said to have been disbursing millions of shillings as ‘loans’ to Encarter Diagnostics Ltd.

However, detectives revealed that in June 2015, Encartar Diagnostics Ltd received Sh50 million from Bungoma County but three days later, Sh35 million was wired to Gachagua’s account.

Tender value

Some of the tender valued at Sh151 million were awarded to the companies by Vihiga and Nyeri counties, plus the Ministry of Lands.

He also received Sh72 million from Bungoma, Kisii, Nyeri, Nairobi and Tharaka Nithi counties.

Documents filed in court by ARA show that Gachagua started receiving millions of shillings after the Jubilee administration came into power in 2013.

Gachagua has, however, all along associated his woes to his association with the Deputy President William Ruto.

ARA in court documents revealed suspicious transactions. In 2014, for example, Specific Supplies Ltd received Sh64.8 million from Ministry of Lands and four days later, the entire cash was wired to Gachagua’s personal account.

In July 2015, Jenne Enterprises received Sh30 million from Rafiki Micro Finance Bank disguised as loan disbursement.

However, the same day, the firm wired Sh28.5 million to Wamunyoro Investments Ltd where Gachagua is a director and shareholder.

In April 2017, Jenne Enterprises transferred another Sh10 million to Wamunyoro Enterprises and the following day, the same firm wired to Gachagua’s personal account Sh5 million.

A report shows that the money movements were designed to conceal, disguise the source of the funds.

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