The Directorate of criminal Investigations welcomes yesterday’s ruling by High Court Judge Esther Maina, directing Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua, to forfeit Sh200 million to the State, which he acquired fraudulently from government agencies through corrupt deals.
This is after the legislator failed to prove to the court how he obtained the money, after it was wired from different government agencies to Rafiki Micro Finance, owned by the legislator.
A comprehensive investigation conducted by sleuths based at the Serious Crimes unit, unearthed details of how the Kenya Kwanza Vice Presidential nominee used different companies to fraudulently secure government tenders.
Using proxies who had registered over 20 companies, Rigathi obtained over Sh1.7 billion from close to 10 government Ministries, State departments, Parastatals and county governments paid through Rafiki micro-finance.
The MP and two of his trusted female associates approached youths and women to register companies and open accounts at Rafiki micro-finance, then used his influence and blackmail to secure tenders for the companies.
However, one of Rigathi’s trusted confidants and aide Julianne Jahenda, was made a signatory in all the accounts opened by the suppliers at the micro-finance.
In a well orchestrated and executed plan, the youths were then given loans by the micro-finance and assisted to supply the required goods, most of which were substandard and broke down immediately after being delivered, leading to losses of hundreds of millions of tax payers money.
Hospitals were the most targeted by the cartel that took advantage of efforts by devolved governments to equip their health facilities and offer specialized health services to the public.
In one such deal in 2014, a county based in central Kenya received medical equipment worth Sh27.4 million for supply of dialysis machines and a water treatment plant.
The tender for supply of the equipment was awarded to 13 companies all allied to the MP. However, the payment was made in a single voucher through Rafiki Micro Finance, then transferred to Rigathi’s personal accounts.
This is despite the fact that one of the dialysis machines and the water treatment plant supplied were not functional, prompting the national government through Managed Equipment Scheme (MES) to come through by supplying eight dialysis machines and a water treatment plant that are currently in use at the hospital.
At the South Coast, a hospital received an incinerator worth Sh12.7 million shillings supplied by one of Rigathi’s associates in 2014. The incinerator has never been put to use since it was a faulty, yet the county government had paid Sh10 million for it.
During the same year, a county in Western Kenya also traded with the Member of Parliament through proxies, for supply of medical equipment to a tune of Sh123.1 million.
Shockingly, after the tenders were paid to the proxies’ accounts at Rafiki Micro Finance, Jahenda would immediately transfer the money to other accounts belonging to Rigathi, who would then deposit the monies in other different accounts to avoid detection by authorities.
In some cases, the poor youths would be compelled to sign blank cheques that would later be cashed and the money deposited to Rigathi’s personal accounts.
Our sleuths also established that there were funds going into Rigathi’s accounts from loans and inter-company transfers, indicating that he was the ultimate beneficiary of the funds received from the counties.
The poor suppliers were then left paying for the loans that they acquired at the micro finance and supplied junks to county hospitals.
It is through the painstaking investigations by sleuths from the Serious Crimes unit, that this high level fraud was detected, leading to the freezing of Sh201 million belonging to the MP by the Assets Recovery Agency.
Additionally, the detectives whom the MP recently alleged couldn’t do simple arithmetics, discovered that Jahenda who operated an Mpesa shop in the city’s Eastlands suburbs prior to being recruited as Rigathi’s Personal Assistant and another female associate, had received over Sh254 Million which they could not account for.
Source: DCI, Kenya