Economy

Rigathi associate’s bid to question sleuth in Sh200m fraud case rejected

gachagua-pic

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

The High Court on Thursday dismissed an application by an associate of Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua to question an officer who investigated claims of money laundering against them saying the application was not merited.

Anne Kimemia, who trades as Jenne Enterprises wanted to cross-examine the investigating officer over claims that some of her accounts were used as conduits of money laundering by the MP.

The court has already frozen Sh200 million belonging to the MP and a judgment by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA), seeking to forfeit the money to the government is due on July 28.

“The prayer for cross-examination of the investigating officer is dismissed,” said Justice Esther Maina. The Judge however allowed Ms Kimemia’s application to present additional papers, as she fights the forfeiture application. The application will be heard on July 12.

The agency through Mohammed Adow had opposed the applications arguing that it was meant to delay the judgment and plans to scuttle the case. He also claimed that a similar application to cross-examine the investigating officer by Mr Gachagua, was dismissed early this year.

The UDA presidential running mate is also fighting to keep the millions arguing that the case was a political witch-hunt.

Mr Gachagua believes that the forfeiture proceedings are not driven by a lawful, honest and sincere wish to have proceeds of crime forfeited or to prevent money laundering as contemplated by the law.

But ARA has dismissed claims that the funds were loans borrowed by his companies from each other and have been earning interest.

No evidence

The MP had stated that he transferred the funds between his accounts and loaned some of his companies, which repaid the money with interest.

The agency says the claim of loans is a decoy for money laundering because there is no evidence to show that the companies borrowed from each other.

The MP allegedly received more than Sh12.5 billion through three accounts in Rafiki Micro Finance Bank.

The agency says Mr Gachagua failed to explain the source of the funds, making it clear that they are proceeds of crime.

“In this application, the 1st respondent (Gachagua) has not tendered any evidence demonstrating anything that entitles him to have lawfully acquired the funds in issue,” ARA said.

According to ARA, Mr Gachagua and his companies benefited from illegitimately sourced funds directly by depositing and keeping them 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.

[email protected]