A sitting Governor and three former Governors are among big names the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) says can’t account for their wealth running into billions of shillings.
The agency is looking to recover over Ksh25 billion they believe has been acquired illegally by civil servants over the past five years. Of that amount, almost half – Ksh11 billion – is alleged to be in the hands of former Governors Evans Kidero (Nairobi), Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu), Mike Sonko (Nairobi) and current Samburu Governor Moses Kassaine Lenolkulal.
All 4 individuals have been in court battling various charges related to graft and misuse of public funds.
“High impact investigations finalised include allegation of illegal and unexplained wealth against governors Ferdinand Waititu, Mike Sonko, Evans Kidero and Moses Kassaine…pending in court,” EACC chairman Eliud Wabukala disclosed in an online presentation to the Senate Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights.
EACC further revealed that it was pursuing more graft cases against five other former and current governors, Principal Secretaries, Senators, MPs, and managing directors of State corporations among others and hoped to recover Ksh25.5 billion. It did not, however, offer the names of public officials allegedly sitting on the proceeds of corruption.
EACC has been intent on seizing various properties associated with the implicated officials.
Kidero’s real estate empire is among assets that have most recently been targeted. He primarily trades through five companies — Gem Investments, Gem Apartments, Gem Suites, Orro Limited and Argenti Limited — but also personally owns hundreds of acres of land, with various estimates placing his net worth at Ksh9 billion.
Earlier in May, EACC revealed a paper trail the agency hopes to use to seize properties including his luxurious Gem Riverside Apartments in Nairobi.
In court, the EACC stated that funds from a fake legal contract were wired to at least 10 different entities. City Hall is said to have lost Ksh58 million in the scandal. Wachira Mburu Mwangi & Company Advocates received instructions to represent City Hall and was paid millions in legal fees. The firm’s managing partner, Stephen Mburu, was paid Ksh58 million. He retained Ksh11.5 million then wired Ksh7 million to John Ndirangu Kariuki and Ksh15 million to Cups Ltd – associated with Kidero’s former Chief of Staff George Wainaina.
According to EACC, Cups Ltd then sent Sh14.4 million to Kidero, who transferred the funds to Virji Meghji who was involved in the construction of the Gem Riverside apartments.
Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko was impeached in late 2020, three years after taking over the reins from Kidero who lost to him in the 2017 polls. He was accused of misconduct, and his time was characterized by tussles with the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) which took over various functions which he signed over to the national government.
He also finds himself in court battling corruption charges which he has firmly denied.
Sonko, a former Shimo la Tewa convict turned street-smart matatu owner and later, politician, has spent incredible sums in charity works across the city which endeared him to voters along with his unmistakable style and flamboyance.
Over the years, many including EACC have raised questions on the source of his vast wealth although he maintains his position that he is a self-made businessman.
Waititu also became Governor of Kiambu county in 2017 before being impeached in January 2020.
In 2019, he had been arrested by the EACC which was investigating various allegations of high-level corruption involving him. In a six-hour interrogation that followed a raid on his Runda home, he was questioned over his recent property acquisitions, including that of a hotel located within the Nairobi Central Business District.
Detectives believe that his ‘Kaa Sober’ initiative meant to eradicate alcoholism in Kiambu County was a scheme to siphon millions of shillings from county coffers.
They further highlighted various other procurement irregularities. Waititu has, however, maintained his innocence.
The former Councillor in the pre-CoK 2010 era has been a prominent figure of city politics for many years, and has vast business interests in Nairobi and its environs particularly in real estate.
Moses Kassaine Lenolkulal
Moses Kassaine, Governor of Samburu County, is a man under fire.
In 2019, he was arrested alongside his including his deputy, county secretary, chief finance officer, former chief officer in charge of environment and several other chief officers. They were accused of defrauding the county of over Ksh84 million, charges the Governor has denied.
The allegations stemmed from a scandal in which Oryx Service Station, which EACC detectives believe is owned by Mr Kasaine and Mr Ndathi, was given a tender to supply the county government against the law.
The 84M fraud, according to EACC, is part of a larger web of corruption alleged to have cost the county Ksh1.6 billion.