Rigathi Gachagua, the younger brother to Nyeri County’s first Governor- the late Nderitu Gachagua, may soon face the same axe that awaits Sirisia Member of parliament (MP) John Waluke.
The first time Mathira MP elected under the auspice of Jubilee party has been the subject of an investigation for complicity whereby he is suspected to have allegedly received and handled money suspected to be derived from proceeds of crime.
In March 2020, the Asset recovery Agency(ARA) received a tip about suspected money laundering schemes. The agency later revealed that the scheme involved monies that had been channeled from the Ministry of Lands (Kenya Informal settlements programme), State Department for Special Planning, Ministry of Health, Bungoma County Government, Mathira Constituency Development Funds, Nyeri County Government And National Irrigation Board through an unknown account.
Immediately after an inquiry of investigation was successfully opened and two suspects were narrowed down. Vide Miscellaneous Criminal Application No. 1275 Of 2020, the agency was issued with warrants to investigate Rigathi Gachagua and Jenner Enterprises Limited both as suspects involved in a complex scheme of money laundering. The money laundering activities involved the aforementioned entities who transferred public funds of around Ksh 5.8 billion or thereabouts to companies associated with the Mathira MP. The agency estimtated that a total of Ksh 200 million was wired into two fixed deposit accounts belonging to Hon. Rigathi Gachagua.
” There are reasonable grounds to believe that the suspects bank accounts were used as conduits of money laundering in efforts to conceal , disguise the nature, source , disposition and movement of the illicit funds and should be preserved “, the agency deposed….. “That within the said period there were massive suspicious cash withdrawals, transfers, inter and intra bank transfers from other accounts to the accounts under investigations and other bank accounts owned by MP Gachagua in suspicious complex money laundering schemes”, added the agency.
In May 2020,the ARA successfully sought from the court orders that saw bank accounts belonging to Rigathi Gachagua frozen for several days so as to pave ways for investigations into his alleged involvement in money laundering activities.
The agency pleaded with the court to issue the orders sought as the suspects Gachagua and Jenne Enterprises limited were likely to withdraw or transfer the funds and thereby benefit from proceeds of crime as contrary to the Anti-Corruption And Economic Crimes Act
“There is a real danger that the funds suspected in the listed bank accounts may be withdrawn, transferred or spent rendering this application and the intended recovery of process of crime nugatory,” ARA argued.
Intricacies of the pleadings from ARA indicated that the agency sought to preserve over Ksh 200.7 million from three separate accounts at the Rafiki Finance Bank [all linked to Rigathi Gachagua]. Further, the agency sought to preserve and prohibit Jenne Enterprises Limited from accessing Ksh 1.1 billion or thereabouts which was under its name at the same bank.
“The court do issue preservation orders prohibiting Rigathi Gachagua and Jenne Enterprises limited , their employees, agents, servants or any other persons acting on their behalf from transacting , withdrawing , transferring and dealing in any manner howsoever in respect of any profits or profits derived or accrued from the funds specified,” the asset agency prays.
Senior Resident Magistrate Muthoni Nzibe issued the order sought, thus compelling a Manager and an office head branch at Rafiki Microfinance Bank Ltd (branch name withheld) to nominate an authorised person who would give the ARA Investigating Officer Sergeant Fredrick Musyoki a certificate of production of electronic evidence containing information about the accounts opening documents and statements of accounts from January 2014 until the date of investigation. The information would also include all cash deposits and withdrawals while also focusing on cash transfers made into and out of the accounts respectively.
Additionally an affidavit from the ARA reads that: “Several employees of the county government of Nyeri and state department of Irrigation are already under investigations by the DCI on various offences ranging from conspiracy to defraud, abuse of office, neglect of official duty engaging in procurement fraud forgery to uttering of false documents, among other”
The MP has since spoken out stating that he had been threatened by a top adviser in government to either toe the line or face the music. Further asserting that his political stance has seen his friends and business partners being summoned and threatened in order to incriminate him. The MP said the investigators have also illegally obtained his bank statements from Equity of which they have been using to trace anyone who has done business with him for the same period.
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