Gachagua renews bid to quiz detective on Sh12.5bn claims


Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua yesterday renewed an application to question an investigator who claims that the legislator received Sh12.5 billion through three bank accounts in seven years.

Making the application before Justice Esther Maina, Mr Gachagua maintained that there is conflicting information, especially on the figures tabled by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) that need to be clarified before the case proceeds for hearing.

“No judge can make a decision based on conflicting affidavits. We need to cross-examine the investigator and in the process, the court will have a chance to observe his demeanor and credibility of the witness,” he submitted through his lawyer Kioko Kilukumi.

In the matter, ARA wants Sh200 million belonging to Mr Gachagua, which was frozen in January, forfeited to the government arguing that the money is proceeds of crime.

The first-term MP allegedly received more than Sh12.5 billion through three accounts in Rafiki Micro Finance Bank but ARA says it could not trace more than Sh5 billion that had been deposited in the MP’s bank accounts.

Mr Gachagua has dismissed the claims, saying the money had been in the same fixed revolving fund rotating between three accounts for the last seven years.

And upon maturing- quarterly- the principal amount plus interest earned are rolled back to the savings account, at his request.

He admitted transferring the funds between his personal accounts and loaning some of his companies, which repaid the money with interest.

Further, Mr Gachagua said he moved the funds between his savings and fixed deposit account and vice versa, to earn interest.

The agency through Mohamed Adow opposed the application saying there was no conflicting information and it is the court to make a determination based on what has been supplied. “We are saying certain amounts in the accounts are proceeds of crime but they are saying that’s not the case. Let the court decide,” he submitted.

Mr Adow further told the court that the case can be determined using affidavits filed in court and Mr Gachagua has responded to claims made by ARA.

The agency said Mr Gachagua’s defence was an afterthought and baseless collection of invented documents meant to hide the source of the funds.

ARA moved to court last year saying the funds are suspected to be proceeds of crime because they are payments to companies associated with the legislator and which emanated from government agencies.

The funds emanated from the Ministry of Lands (Kenya Informal Settlements Programme), state department for Special Planning, the Ministry of Health, Bungoma county government, Mathira constituency development funds, Nyeri county government and National Irrigation Board.

The funds, at Rafiki Micro Finance Bank, are held in three accounts with one holding Sh165 million, a second account holds Sh35 million while the other holds Sh773,228. All three are registered in the MP’s names. A fourth account, holding Sh1,138,142, is registered in the name of Jenne Enterprises.

“That within the said period, there were massive suspicious cash withdrawals, transfers, inter and intra bank transfers from other accounts to the accounts under investigations and other bank accounts owned by Mr Gachagua in suspicious complex money laundering schemes,” the agency said.

Justice Maina will rule on the application on November 4.

[email protected]