Profiles

Fraud charges threaten to sink ‘crocodile eater’

mungatana

Mr Danson Mungatana. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Mr Mungatana was thrust into national limelight after the 2002 general election and it was never a dull moment for TV cameras listening to him.
  • He went on to serve as assistant minister in several ministries.
  • He was one of the loudest defenders of President Mwai Kibaki in the latter’s first administration.

It’s nothing unusual when Danson Buya Mungatana appears in court.

He is an advocate after all and for him, the many times he appears in court to defend a client or to argue on constitutional issues or even a commercial dispute, the better as it it means more work for him.

But when the former Garsen MP makes a growing number of appearances in the dock to face fraud charges, then one wonders what happened to the man who rode high in the socio-political class and once even challenged ODM leader Raila Odinga to a political duel referring himself as a ‘crocodile eater’.

Mr Mungatana was thrust into national limelight after the 2002 general election and it was never a dull moment for TV cameras listening to him.

He went on to serve as assistant minister in several ministries. All appeared well for the hawkish lawyer.

Mr Mungatana was one of the loudest defenders of President Mwai Kibaki in the latter’s first administration. That is how he boasted of being a crocodile eater and not scared of Mr Odinga who only “eat fish”.

He later resigned from President Kibaki’s government to follow his party leader Martha Karua during the early days of the Grand Coalition government.

The former legislator, who served as Garsen MP for two terms, was arrested this week over claims of receiving money by false pretence.

This is not the first the first time, however that the former MP has found himself on the wrong side of the law.

Last year, Mr Mungatana was arrested and charged before a Malindi court with alleged theft of Sh51.5 million from Kilifi County coffers.

It was alleged that he and six others forged local purchase orders (LPO's) belonging to the Kilifi County government to ask for payments. They were accused of using a company belonging to a businesswoman, as a conduit to illegally receive millions from the county government.

And since then, things have taken a sad twist for the former MP. In 2018, Mr Mungatana painted a picture of a man desperate to get a job – any job. This was after he was shortlisted among applicants for the position of a clerk at the Tana River County Assembly.

Before that, he had unsuccessfully vied for the Speaker of Tana River County Assembly but later dropped out of the race. And before going for the Speaker’s seat, he tried the Tana River gubernatorial seat on August 8, 2017 but lost.

In October 2017, Mr Mungatana went job-hunting in Meru County and he was shortlisted for the position of chief legal officer but failed to clinch the post.

Perhaps as a reward for his support for the government of the day, Mr Mungatana was handed a job at the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa).

In 2014, he served a short stint as the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) chairman, where he promised to improve efficiency at the port by speeding up clearance of cargo.

A year later, he was in court defending some 126 workers accused of forging education certificates, to secure jobs at the port.

His latest arrest shows a man who is unsettled. According to the police, Mr Mungatana together with Collins Paul Waweru will face charges of obtaining money by false pretences, forgery and making a false document.

It is alleged that the two, with others who are still at large allegedly presented a fake security agency document tender.

Police allege that a businesswoman known as Everlyne Njoki had been approached by a Mr Waweru, claiming that he could help her secure a Sh70 million tender from the military.

And to help push the tender through, Mr Waweru allegedly introduced Ms Njoki to Mr Mungatana who, according to police, presented himself as a senior official at the Department of Defence (DOD).

After his arrest at a city hotel, Mr Mungatana was taken to Kilimani police station for questioning before he was released on police bond.

A prosecutor said the former MP will be presented before a Kibera magistrate on Tuesday.