DPP gets nod to review Deputy President Gachagua’s Sh7.4bn graft case

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua

DP Rigathi Gachagua. PHOTO | NMG

The anti-corruption court in Nairobi has given prosecutors three weeks to review the Sh7.4 billion corruption charges against Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and nine others.

Milimani Anti-Corruption Court Magistrate Victor Wakumile allowed the Director of Public Prosecution’s (DPP) request to postpone the hearing scheduled for Monday and Tuesday so that the prosecutors can review the case before giving directions on whether or not the trial will proceed.

The DPP was granted until November 21 to return to court with directions on the trial.

The DPP told the court that he had received letters from some of the accused persons in the case seeking to have him review the evidence and charges against them.

Mr Gachagua was not present in court.  His lawyer Gibson Kimani did not oppose the request by the DPP to review the charges against him, but he informed the magistrate that the DP failed to appear in court in person, saying he thought the matter would be mentioned virtually.

The prosecution did not dispute Mr Gachagua's absence in court saying there was confusion on whether the matter was to be mentioned virtually or in open court.

"In view of the application by the DPP to review the charges, l will not make any further orders in regards to the absence of the accused persons today," said Mr Wakumile.

He, however, ordered Mr Gachagua and his co-accused to appear in court in person during the hearing on November 21.

The DP is charged alongside nine others -- Nyeri senator William Wahome Mwangi, Anne Nduta Ruo, Julianne Jahenda Makaa, Samuel Murimi, Grace Wambui Kariuki, Lawrence Kimaru, Irene Wambui Ndigiriri, David Reuben and a company M/s Rapid Medical Supplies.

They are accused of fraudulently receiving Sh7,330,011,265 through three bank accounts at Rafiki Micro-Finance bank while knowing that the monies were proceeds of crime.

The fraud was committed on diverse dates between 2013 and 2020 in Nairobi.

Money laundering

On December 29, 2014 in Nairobi County, jointly with others not before the court, the DP fraudulently acquired Sh6 million public funds for the supply of dialysis machines to Nyeri Provincial General Hospital, the court was told.

The DP was charged with money laundering for allegedly receiving a total of Sh104,821,205 from the Bungoma County Government between January 2018 and June 2019, with the intent to unlawfully dispose of the monies.

He is also accused of having received Sh7,583,505 from the Kwale County Government with intent to unlawfully dispose of the money.

Mr Gachagua is also charged with conflict of interest on grounds that between October 2018 and January 2019, being the MP for Mathira Constituency, he privately benefited from a contract awarded for the construction of Njathaini Primary School, which was funded by the Mathira Constituency Development Fund.

The contract, according to the charge sheet, was awarded to a company owned by one of Mr Gachagua’s close associates.

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