Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua used at least 40 companies to win tenders from the central government and county governments, detectives from the Serious Fraud Unit of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have said.
Most of the tenders discovered were awarded by the government of the late Nyeri governor Nderitu Gachagua, who is his brother.
Detectives have been investigating Rigathi for the last few months, following revelations that his bank accounts handled at least Ksh12 billion in seven years.
The companies that were operated as proxies had a similar convergence point, Wamunyoro Investments Limited, where Mr Gachagua and his wife, pastor Dorcas Wanjiku, are shareholders.
On of the 40 companies is Upperdeck Agencies, won a Ksh9.4 million tender to supply linen to Nyeri County hospitals.
Gerald Waema Mbatha and Moses Otieno were identified as the proprietors. However, when the money was paid on February 18, 2015, the whole amount was wired to Wamunyoro Investments Limited. The signatory was Sammy Cheborgey, an employee of Mathira CDF committee.
Another company, Rapid Medical Supplies, was awarded a Ksh47 million tender to supply medical supplies to Nyeri County.
According to detectives, it was hard to ascertain whether the companies made any supplies to the county. The bank accounts made minimal or no payments to suppliers, which would be normal for any transaction.
“Accounts held at Rafiki Deposit-taking Microfinance have been used to source for loans (and) these loans have been used to cover up for funds received from government departments or intercompany transfers in a bid to conceal the ultimate beneficiary or beneficiaries of the funds,” said the detectives’ report as quoted by the Daily Nation.
Some of the companies had proprietors who had no knowledge of how the contracts were done, with some having no physical offices.
“During the recording of the statements, they appeared clueless, naïve, unprofessional and (as) persons who had no idea what their companies had done. The tenders won involved construction of roads, water pans and others but they did not have any idea how it is done. They had no known office space, staff and both were operating from Gachagua’s office,” the sleuths further noted.
The payments were further distributed to Meru Senator Mithika Linturi, former Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and Laikipia Senator John Kinyua who have recorded statements with the sleuths. 102 others have so far recorded statements.
Detectives has also circled in on Julienda Jahenda Makaa, personal secretary to Rigathi, who received millions from the accounts. Ms Makaa is said to have been an M-Pesa attendant at Buruburu area of Nairobi and a proprietor of Skytop Agencies, which received multi-million tenders from Mathira Constituency.
Stecol Corporation, which has won tenders in Nyeri County, paid Ksh15 million to Skytop Agencies, while Endrem Agencies paid Ksh34 million to Machine Centre Limited. The two companies are also associated with Gachagua.
Machine Centre Limited received Ksh314 million from the Ministry of Water and Sanitation for Sagana River Restoration Project, which was being undertaken by Israeli company, Baran International. The payment was 20 per cent of the project cost.
Machine Centre Limited, owned by Mathira CDF chairman William Wahome and Elizabeth Wachera, has a joint account with Rigathi’s Wamunyoro Investments Limited.
At least 66 bank accounts have been scrutinised so far, including 10 belonging to the Rigathi.
In previous revelations, the MP received Ksh12.5 billion through three accounts in Rafiki Micro Finance Bank, in seven years, and the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) was able to trace withdrawals worth Ksh7.3 billion.
However, ARA said it is unable to explain the disappearance of over Ksh5 billion, that cannot be traced even through bank statements.
As of October 2020, Rigathi’s savings account that received Ksh5.8 billion remained with only Ksh773,228, while another account that received Ksh877 million remained with Ksh35 million.
Another account at the centre of the mystery received Ksh5.87 billion of which Ksh705.1 million was withdrawn according to bank statement. The account remained with Ksh165 million balance, leaving some unexplained Ksh5.1 billion.