United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Deputy Presidential candidate, Rigathi Gachagua, has lost Ksh200 million to the state after failing to explain to a court the source of the funds.
The funds were frozen by the High Court in 2020 pending a petition by the Assets Recovery Authority (ARA) for the cash to be forfeited to the government. The state had linked the funds to graft and money-laundering.
Gachagua, MP for Mathira, is the running mate to the current Deputy President William Ruto – one of the frontrunners for the Presidency in August polls. High Court Judge Esther Maina on Thursday, July 28 ruled that Gachagua had failed to explain how he acquired the funds.
The Assets Recovery Authority (ARA) suspected the funds to be proceeds of crime as they represent payments made by government agencies to companies associated with Gachagua. Among the government agencies which made payments are the Mathira Constituency Development Fund, Nyeri County government, Ministry of Lands (Kenya Informal Settlements Programme), National Irrigation Board, the State Department for Special Planning, Ministry of Health and the Bungoma County government.
The funds were held in various bank accounts. Three accounts registered in the MP’s name at Rafiki Micro Finance Bank had Ksh165 million, Ksh35 million and Ksh773,228 respectively. A different account holding Ksh1,138,142 is registered in the name of Jenne Enterprises.
ARA in court filings accused Gachagua of being involved in massive money laundering. It called for the court to intervene to avoid a scenario where Gachagua withdraws the funds
“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 Mr Gachagua in suspicious complex money-laundering schemes,” the court filings read in part.
“There are reasonable grounds to believe that the suspect’s bank accounts were used as a conduit for money laundering in efforts to conceal, disguise the nature, source, disposition and movement of illicit funds and should be preserved,” ARA continued.