Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua in court over Ksh12 billion scandal: What we know so far

Monday, July 26th, 2021 12:09 | By
Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua freed. PHOTO: PD

Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Friday arrested Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua.

The MP was Monday, July 26 charged with six counts of corruption related to Sh 7.4 billion and released on a cash bail of ksh12 million or a bond of ksh25 million.

He was also ordered to deposit his passport with the court and not interfere with any witnesses.

Appearing before Milimani Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi, Gachagua denied charges of fraudulent acquisition of public property, Money laundering, conflict of interest and conspiracy to defraud Nyeri county government Sh27 million.

The offences are alleged to have been committed in the years 2013 and 2020.

In this case, Gachagua is charged alongside nine others who are not in court.

Shortly after his arrest on Friday, the legislator wrote on his Facebook page: “As predicted two dozens of DCI officers raided my Nyeri home and arrested me to face trumped-up charges of money laundering. I am being driven to Nairobi at reckless speed to spend the weekend in the cells.

"I am happy it is finally over. It has been two years of hell; being arrested and released, writing countless statements, being prosecuted in the media, intimidation and harassment to me and family.

“I am happy I now have a chance to be vindicated in a court of law as our courts are independent. To our tormentors and persecutors, you only have one year remaining.

"We shall have a new democratic Government that does not use the criminal justice system to manage politics. I appreciate it is their bitterness with the loss of the Kiambaa by-election. Though I played a minimal role, I had no vote.

“Will you arrest all voters of Kiambaa? Kiambaa was just the tip of the iceberg, the handshake state faces a humiliating defeat in 2022. To my great people of Mathira, I thank you for your prayers and trust in me.

"In the fullness of time, my innocence Will be pronounced. I am not cowed or intimidated. I remain principled and consistent. My support for William Ruto remains steadfast and unshaken. The Darkest hour is just before dawn."

The MP was taken to DCI headquarters where he was grilled for close to six hours before being locked up in a police cell where he spent the weekend.

The MP has since denied the state allegations and termed his prosecution as politically instigated.

Gachagua’s bank accounts have since been frozen by the High Anti-Corruption court in October last year allowing the government to investigate the source of the Ksh12.5 billion that flowed through the accounts.

This is after Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) informed the High Court the lawmaker received more than Ksh12.5 billion through three accounts in Rafiki Micro Finance Bank, in seven years, payments that have been labelled suspicious.

The three accounts have over Ksh 200,773,000 held at Rafiki Microfinance. According to the court order, Kshs. 165,000,000 million, Kshs. 35,000,000 and Ksh. 773,228.33 are held in the bank accounts held in name of Gachagua at Rafiki Microfinance.

The agency told the court that it traced Ksh 7.3 billion withdrawals through bank statements in accounts that were lef with a balance of Sh200 million.

But the agency says there are no bank statements to show how the balance of Sh 5.1 billion was withdrawn from the fixed deposit account in what it has termed “a complex scheme of money laundering”.

Gachagua is suspected to have used proxies to fraudulently secure tenders through 22 companies.

In October 2020 justice Joseph Onyiego frozen more than Sh200 million belonging to the MP, offering a rare peek of his financial war chest and cash dealings from his three accounts in the microlender not publicly known for mega transactions
One savings account had a balance of KSh 773,228 after receiving Ksh 5.8 billion and a fixed deposit account was left with Ksh 35 million after receiving about Ksh 877 million.

A second fixed account received Sh5.87 billion of which Sh705.1 million had been withdrawn, but with a Sh165 million balance, leaving some unexplained Sh5.1 billion, according to the ARA’s court documents.

ARA said on March 30, this year, it received information into suspected complex money laundering schemes and proceeds of crime involving public funds from the ministry of lands (Kenya Informal Settlements programme), state department for Special Planning, Ministry of Health, Bungoma county government, Mathira constituency development funds, Nyeri county government and National Irrigation board.

The agency says that preliminary investigations established that Gachagua and Jenne Enterprises limited were involved in a suspected complex scheme of money laundering involving several companies which initially received funds from government ministries and state agencies.

More on News