When govt charged Rigathi Gachagua with obtaining Ksh.7.3 billion by fraud
On July 26, 2021, the government of Kenya charged Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate Rigathi Gachagua with acquiring more than Ksh.7.3 billion suspected to be proceeds of crime.
This was after he spent a weekend in a police cell, but denied all the charges.
He was accused of awarding Mathira constituency contracts to his close friends and associates.
Chief magistrate Lawrence Mugambi heard that Gachagua received the monies in his three bank accounts at Rafiki Micro-Finance Bank.
The funds were allegedly deposited between 2013 and 2020.
According to the then charges, Gachagua and Rapid Medical Suppliers Ltd allegedly acquired Ksh.6 million from Nyeri County Government on December 29, 2014 for the supply of Dialysis machines to Nyeri Provincial General Hospital.
He also, allegedly, received Ksh.104 million from Bungoma County Government suspected to be proceeds of crime between January 2015 and June 2019.
On conflict of interest, the Mathira Member of Parliament allegedly acquired indirect interest in a contract for the construction of Njathaini primary school, which was funded by Mathira Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
According to the prosecution, the contract was awarded to Skytop Agencies owned by Julianne Jahenda Makaa, a close associate.
He allegedly received more than Ksh.12.5 billion through three accounts in Rafiki Micro Finance Bank but Assets Recovery Authority (ARA) said it could not trace more than Ksh.5 billion that had been deposited in the MP’s bank accounts.
Gachugua defended himself saying he is an astute businessman, with several companies which won several tenders with the government, ministries and state departments, over the years.
Although the charges stated that he laundered Ksh.7.3 billion, the six charges Gachagua denied did not add up to the amount he is alleged to have conspired to receive corruptly.
In February this year, ARA said there was no proof that Ksh.200 million in Gachagua’s bank accounts was legitimately sourced.
The agency, in its closing submissions before Anti Corruption Court, argued that although Gachagua filed a reply in court, he did not explain any legitimate source of the money.
“The respondent did not explain any legitimate origin and source of the funds. The respondent’s supplementary affidavits do not explain any legitimate source of the funds in issue and there is no linkage between the alleged loans acquired or guaranteed and the funds in issue,” said ARA.
On May 12, 2022, Gachagua said politicians with court cases hanging over their heads should not be barred from seeking elective posts until their charges have gone through the entire criminal justice system.
“Until you are convicted and have exhausted all avenues of appeal you have a right to seek any political seat provided under the constitution. If you look at all the high-profile cases that have been done by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation, none have taken off. None because they were all political,” said Gachagua.
In March this year, the MP said the Government was employing the use of State agencies to intimidate leaders allied to UDA whose ticket Deputy William Ruto intends to fly in his bid to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The one-term MP has enjoyed public service over the years, with some pundits arguing he has the experience to run the government should Kenya Kwanza clinch the presidency come August 9, 2022, general election.