MP Gachagua charged with obtaining Sh7bn by fraud


Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua was Monday charged with acquiring more than Sh7.3 billion suspected to be proceeds of crime.

The MP, who spent the weekend in police cells also denied charges of money laundering and conflict of interest for allegedly awarding close associates contracts through Mathira constituency development fund.

Although the charges stated that he laundered more than Sh7.3 billion, the six charges he denied does not add up to the amount he is alleged to have conspired to receive corruptly.

Chief magistrate Lawrence Mugambi heard that Mr Gachagua received Sh7.3 billion in his three bank accounts at Rafiki Micro-Finance Bank. The funds were allegedly deposited between 2013 and 2020.

Mr Gachagua was charged with nine other people and companies, but who were not in court. He was ordered to deposit cash bail of Sh12 million or bond of Sh25 million to secure his release.

Among the charges is that he and Rapid Medical Suppliers Ltd acquired Sh6 million from Nyeri county government on December 29, 2014 for the supply of Dialysis machines to Nyeri Provincial General Hospital.

He is also alleged to have received Sh104 million from Bungoma county government suspected to be proceeds of crime between January 2015 and June 2019.

On conflict of interest, the MP allegedly acquired indirect interest in a contract for the construction of Njathaini primary school, which was funded by Mathira CDF. The contract, according to the prosecution, was awarded to Skytop Agencies owned by Julianne Jahenda Makaa, a close associate.

The prosecution alleged that the transactions were meant to conceal movements of the money because it is believed to be proceeds of crime.

Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) obtained orders freezing the three accounts, which held Sh201 million in June last year over claims that they are 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.

The agency says there is no evidence of any work he did or performed on behalf the government, counties and State corporations, such as certificates of work completion hence the funds are proceeds of crime.

Mr Gachugua has 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.

According to ARA, Mr Gachagua and his companies benefited from illegitimately sourced funds directly by depositing and keeping in their bank accounts and in the accounts of entities he fully controlled.

ARA says failing to forfeit the funds to the government will amount to granting permission to a party to benefit from proceeds of crime