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Economy

Gakuyo faces DCI probe over Sh1bn Ekeza Sacco scandal

David Kariuki Ngare
Bishop David Kariuki Ngare. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NMG 

Controversial televangelist David Ngare Kariuki aka Gakuyo is set to be investigated by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) over claims that he siphoned over Sh1 billion at the troubled Ekeza Sacco after the government formally filed a complaint.

The Ministry of Trade filed the complaint at the DCI headquarters Thursday afternoon, setting the stage for investigations into the scandal affecting 78,000 members of the savings and credit cooperative society (sacco).

Gakuyo presented himself at the DCI headquarters Thursday, a day after Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i instructed the police to speed up arrests of officials of the troubled sacco where the televangelist is the chairman.

He checked in at the DCI offices at around 1.30 p.m. accompanied by a team of six lawyers led by Dunstan Omari, and spent slightly over an hour. He did not speak to the media.

Mr Omari said the preacher presented himself after word went round that police were pursuing him over troubles at Ekeza.

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“There was word going round that the bishop (Gakuyo) has gone into hiding and that the DCI was looking for him. As his lawyers, we presented him (so that) if there is a complaint against him, he will clarify. The DCI has confirmed that there is no complaint has been lodged against our client,” Mr Omari told reporters outside the DCI headquarters.

"Five minutes before arrived at the office of the DCI, a complaint document came from the Ministry of Trade which had not even been read…the DCI will look at it.”

Withdrawals

An audit by the Commissioner of Co-operatives' office linked Gakuyo to irregular withdrawals of more than Sh1 billion from the sacco, part of which he used to buy a palatial residence at the leafy Nyari estate and to finance his real estate firm.

The audit reckons that an estimated Sh1.5 billion was unlawfully transferred to the accounts of the preacher, Gakuyo Real Estate, where he is the managing director and his wife Hannah Wachu a co-director, lawyers and vendors of land sold to his company.

Some of the monies were withdrawn through cash using the sacco’s vice-chairman James Wanjuu and secretary-cum-CEO Gladys Muriithi “for activities of Gakuyo Real Estate and its directors” under the preacher's instructions.

Approximately Sh1.419 billion was irregularly transferred from the sacco’s Equity Bank account — Sh88,138,375 in 2015, Sh850,463,877 in 2016, Sh454,097,630 in 2017 and Sh27,002,220 last year.

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