The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) has wired back KSH 200 million to deputy president Rigathi Gachagua after he was cleared of fraud charges a few months ago.
ARA had tabled evidence showing that companies associated with Gachagua, then Mathiora Member of Parliament, were involved in fraudulent transactions and benefited from irregular payments.
Mr Gachagua’s three bank accounts held a total of Sh200 million while the fourth account, holding Sh1,138,142, is registered in the name of Jenne Enterprises.
High Court judge Esther Maina, while ruling on the case last year, said that the funds were proceeds of crime and ordered that the funds be forfeited to the Assets Recovery Agency.
According to the judge, the evidence submitted in court had proved that the MP and his companies benefited from funds yet did not deliver any goods or provided any services to the ministries or agencies, which gave tenders to him.
“I have carefully considered the evidence on record including affidavits, annexures and submissions by all parties and I am satisfied that the funds are liable for forfeiture to the government,” the judge said.
The funds, had been held at Rafiki Microfiinance Bank in three separate accounts with one holding Sh165 million, the second account one Sh35 million and the third Sh773,228.
In his defence, Gachagua claimed that he moved the funds between his savings and fixed deposit account and vice versa, to earn interest.
He further claimed that the money was in a fixed revolving fund rotating between three accounts for seven years. And upon maturing- quarterly- the principal amount plus interest earned are rolled back to the savings account, at his request.
The payments had been received from several state agencies including Kenya Power, the Ministry of Lands (Kenya Informal Settlements Programme), department of Special Planning, Ministry of Health, Bungoma county government, Mathira constituency development funds, Nyeri county government and National Irrigation Board.
According to the evidence that had been presented while the case was being investigated, the state department for Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) paid Mr Gachagua’s company- Triple Eight Construction Sh32.1 million for the construction of primary sewer and electro-mechanical works and was paid in June 2016.
KPLC paid also paid M/S Wamunyoro Investment, a company associated with the DP, Sh9.9 million in March 2013 for the gravelling of its Nairobi West office yard and surface drainage, while the Ministry of lands paid his company Sh52.2 million for the supply of flatbed scanners and stations, for a contract awarded in November 2013.
Last year after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) dropped the fraud charges against Gachagua saying there is no sufficient evidence.
DPP had in October last year withdrawn various high-level graft cases involving politicians aligned to President Ruto attracting public criticism. These include a Sh400M graft case against former Kenya Power MD Ben Chumo, and a 19M graft case against former Malindi Member of parliament Aisha Jumwa. Aisha Jumwa and Sh80m graft case against former Samburu Governor, Moses Lenolkula.