By Kenya Confidential Financial Desk Editor, Nairobi – October 8, 2020
Time has come to name and root out the corrupt in order to clean up the economic mess they have created. The perpetual cycle of verbal war on corruption when very little is done must end if President Uhuru Kenyatta wishes to leave any legacy worth remembering a decade after his exit.
Corruption investigative and asset recovery agencies cannot get away with claims that they cannot trace billions of shillings banked in suspect accounts by the corrupt. Billions of shillings are not needles in a haystack. Billions stolen from from Kenyans now languishing in poverty, disease and ignorance.
It’s intriguing that anti-graft agencies cannot trace more than Ksh5 billion that had been deposited in the bank accounts of Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua, who is being investigated for money laundering.
The first-term Mathira MP reportedly received more than Ksh 12.5 billion through three accounts in Rafiki Micro Finance Bank, in seven years, payments that have been labelled suspicious.
The Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) reckons in court documents that it traced Sh7.3 billion withdrawals through bank statements in accounts that were left with a balance of Sh200 million.
But the agency says there are no bank statements to show how the balance of Sh5.1 billion were withdrawn from the fixed deposit account in what it has termed “a complex scheme of money laundering”.
The High Court has frozen more than Ksh200 million belonging to the MP, offering a rare peek of his financial war chest and cash dealings from his three accounts in the micro lender not publicly that has never been known for mega financial 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 Ksh35 million after receiving about Ksh 877 million.
Another fixed account received Ksh 5.87 billion of which Ksh 705.1 million had been withdrawn, but with a Ksh 165 million balance, leaving some unexplained Ksh 5.1 billion, according to the ARA’s filed in court.
The agency says it is seeking further questions from Rafiki Micro Finance Bank having been unconvinced with the lender’s explanation that the Ksh 5.1 billion was used for trading transactions.
Documents filed in court by the ARA show that the money started pouring into several Gachagua’s accounts soon after the Jubilee administration rode to power in 2013. Several other MPs have enjoyed a similar manna from political goddess.
He received funds from the Ministry of Lands – headed by former universirty days girlfriend of Deputy President William Ruto, Friday Karoney – Kenya Informal Settlements Programme, State Department for Planning – previously headed by Ruto appointee to the cabinet Hery Rotich, Jubilee cash cow Ministry of Health, Bungoma County Government, Mathira CDF, Nyeri County Government and the National Irrigation Board under Ministry of Water and Irrigation then under Ruto appointee to the Cabinet Simon Chelugui.
The MP is the brother of the late Nderitu Gachagua, the first Nyeri governor, who died in office on February 24, 2017 after suffering a long illness. He is also a close ally of Ruto – a friendship they have built from 1992 when Gachagua was a District Officer in the Rift Valley when innocent Kenyans were killed in so-called Land Clashes. Ruto was a leading mobiliser of Youth for Kanu 1992 (YK’92).
In a petition filed on October 7th, the ARA is seeking to have the Ksh200 million frozen forfeited to the State, saying it is proceeds of crime – a drop in the ocean.
The ARA says in documents filed in court that, “Preliminary investigations established that the respondents were involved in suspected complex scheme of money laundering involving several companies, which initially received funds from government ministries and State agencies and later transferred the funds to companies/business entities associated with Gachagua and ultimately transferred the funds to Gachagua’s personal accounts.”
Documents further show that Gachagua received a total of Ksh347 million from several companies including Encarta Diagnostics Ksh112 million, Wamunyoro Investments Ksh 7.5 million, Rapid Medical Supplies Ksh58 million and Specific Supplies Ksh103 million. It is not clear what services or products he supplied to the firms.
Some of the money was later transferred to the two fixed deposit accounts while he wired Ksh12.9 million to his spouse Dorcas and Ksh9 million to Toyota Kenya and Taitan Motolink. Dorcas is a key political women mobiliser.
The assets recovery agency investigated a total of 33 bank accounts that have dealt with the MP or companies associated with him, including Wamunyoro Investments Ltd, Crystal Kenya Ltd, Machine Centre, Technical Supplies and Services Ltd, Skytop Agencies and Specific Supplies Ltd.
The agency says Mr Gachagua and an associate identified as Anne Kimemia, who traded as Jenne Enterprises were involved in a complex money laundering scheme in collusion with his associated companies.
The documents allege that the MP is a shareholder and director in the said companies. Some of funds entering his accounts were payments made from Kwale and Bungoma counties, which paid Sh112.4 million to Encarta Diagnostics.
The funds were later transferred to several accounts, an indication that he was using the companies as a conduit for money laundering, asserts the ARA.
“There are reasonable grounds to believe that the said accounts received and are holding funds which are believed to be proceeds of crime and the accounts were used to execute a complex money laundering scheme in an effort designed to conceal, disguise and hide the nature, source, movement and disposition of the funds,” the ARA petition states.
Over the seven-year period, there were massive suspicious cash withdrawals and bank transfers to the accounts under investigation.
Those involved are aided by global financial hit men, on hire, involved in massive plunder of national treasuries in Africa. The agency says the money movements were designed to conceal, disguise and hide the nature, source movement and depositing of the funds.
The accounts that were investigated included those of former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri. He was very eloquent in a recent interview with Citizen TV Jeff Koinange that he is as white as cotton.
Some of the suspicious payments made to Gachagua came from National Irrigation Board, which was under the Ministry of Agriculture during Kiunjuri’s tenure. The ARA is investigating whether funds from the irrigation board were wired to Kiunjuri’s accounts via Gachagua or his associates.
The assets recovery agency says that on July 15, 2015, Jenne Enterprises received Sh30 million from Rafiki disguised as loan disbursement. Interestingly, on the same day, the firm wired Ksh 28.5 million to Wamunyoro Investment where Gachagua is a director and shareholder.
The documents in our possession show Jenne Enterprises also transferred Sh10 million to Wamunyororo Investment on April 3, 2017. The following day, the same firm wired another Ksh 5 million to Gachagua’s personal account.
Uhuru was elected the executive president of the Republic of Kenya by the people of Kenya not The Most Reverend Archbishop Uhuru of Kenya or His Beatitude. He is not The Most Reverend Archbishop Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya or His Eminence.
He is not a Guru of a Hindu divine figure, and certainly not Ayatollah or imam in Islam. Religious organisations so far are at peace, it is his government which is in turmoil because of corruption and greed for power.
Uhuru should leave the prayer ceremonies to the clergy. Kenya has a National Prayers Day during which Kenyans have heard when a Vice President was bought his first pair of shoes and now sits on the high table of the son of the first president of the Republic of Kenya.
A first President who is today condemned by the same Vice President as a Dynasty with all those who served under him as ministers, businessmen and land grabbers in the Rift Valley. Kenya’s biggest problem is not, repeat not, lack of prayers but lack of Decorum, Honesty, Principles, Integrity and Accountability.
Mr President those Core Values for a Life Worth Living will not be found in a church, shrine or tent among people gathered for prayers. They are found in people’s brains that determine how they behave and relate to fellow citizens and their motherland.
That is what is lacking in your Cabinet and many of the corrupt souls you appoint to key positions.