Damning court papers put Waiguru at the heart of Sh791m NYS graft scandal

Tuesday February 16 2016

By ABIUD OCHIENG
More by this Author

Former Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru received a share of the Sh791 million lost in the NYS scandal, according to a businesswoman who has been charged in connection with the corruption scandal at the youth agency.

In damning papers filed in court Monday, Ms Josephine Kabura Irungu claims that Ms Waiguru was at the centre of the scandal and knew what was going on all along.

Ms Irungu says Ms Waiguru played a key role in devising devious schemes to divert public attention and mislead investigative agencies from getting to the bottom of the scandal.

The schemes involved slapping the suspects “with funny charges” to assuage public anger, directing blame at third parties — some of them allegedly innocent — and using public officials in elaborate cover-ups.

Ms Irungu is seeking to be enjoined as an interested party in a case filed by the Asset Recovery Agency against eight individuals alleged to have benefited from the Sh791 million NYS scandal. The authority is seeking to recover the money from the eight.

One of them is a businessman identified as Mr John Kago Ndung’u.

According to Ms Irungu, Mr Ndung’u was her business associate and had never done business with the NYS.

WAIGURU'S SISTER INVOLVED

Ms Irungu claims that the former CS — who Monday said she would seek the Jubilee nomination in the Nairobi governor’s race next year — planned, facilitated and protected the people involved in the NYS scandal.

She says that Ms Waiguru helped her to register the companies she used to do business with the NYS.

Ms Waiguru also gave her specific instructions to open bank accounts for them at Family Bank, she says.

All the accounts were to be opened at the Kenya Tea Development Authority Plaza branch.

“Ms Waiguru called an employee of Family Bank whose role was to ensure that the accounts were opened and operated without any hiccups,” says Ms Kabura.

According to her, Ms Waiguru instructed her to work closely with the former CS’s sister, Ms Loise Mbarire, who would be given money regularly.

“Most of the time the CS Waiguru would request that I give part profits to a lady named Loise Mbarire, CS Waiguru’s sister, who was supposed to give back the money to me or the CS Waiguru after servicing her deliveries.

“Loise informed me that she worked in a law firm at Finance House on Loita Street. She would come (to the bank) in different vehicles, park in the basement and wait for me to withdraw and take it (the money) down to her, one bag at a time,” Ms Irungu says in her affidavit.

PUBLIC ANGER

When the Central Bank questioned the NYS payments, Ms Irungu says that Ms Waiguru called her and several other people for a meeting at her Runda home in which she criticised Mr Adan Harakhe, then a senior NYS official, accusing him of “processing deals behind our backs”.

Among those present were Mr Mutahi Ngunyi, who worked as a consultant for the NYS, Mr Hassan Noor, who was the chief of staff at the Devolution Ministry, Mr Harakhe and Mr Joseph Mugwanja, the director of the Banking Fraud Department.

“Mr Mutahi Ngunyi advised Madam Waiguru to do an official statement to cool down public anger,” she says in her court papers. “He also advised her to do a backdated letter on the purportedly stolen password ... This backdated letter was dated June 5, 2015.”

During the meeting, Mr Mugwanja was instructed to divert the attention of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission investigators. In return, Ms Waiguru was to help him become the director of CID.

In one revealing statement, Ms Irungu says that after mentioning that she had kept Sh80 million in two safes at her office, Ms Waiguru sent Mr Mugwanja and other officers from his department to collect the money, allegedly for safe-keeping.

“CS Waiguru said they would keep it safely away from even NIS who had been looped into the case,” she says.

Ms Irungu was one of the contractors supplying road-building materials for work being done at the Kibera slums at the time. According to her, she kept the money in cash in her office because the CS had informed her that “Jua Kali” suppliers always wanted to be paid in cash.

Others who gave her instructions to either deposit money in bank accounts or “to strangers” were Mr Ngunyi and Mr Harakhe.

On Mr Harakhe, she said: “He also requested me to meet him at his office for our regular meetings and that I take Sh20 million in cash with me, which he told me to hand over to a gentleman only introduced to me as Mohammed.

“In prodding further about why a stranger was being given the Sh20 million, he told me that it was meant to facilitate more business. Further, Mr Harakhe also requested that I deposit Sh40 million in an account number he gave me. I informed the CS Waiguru about the monies requested by Mr Harakhe and she told me that she was aware and that I should make the deposit as he had requested.”

She also says that Ms Waiguru introduced her to two journalists, Mr Mwaniki Munuhe and Mr Maina Kamore. The CS told her that the two were her “media gurus”.

“She informed me that she had been working with these media personalities since she joined the government. She also instructed me to give Mr Mwaniki Munuhe the sum of Sh10 million for purposes of propaganda and to assist clean my name,” she says.

However, matters started taking a turn for the worse when Ms Irungu was informed that she would be arrested and that she would have to spend a night at the Kileleshwa Police Station before being charged with abuse of office the next day.

'FUNNY CHARGES'

The CS had informed her that her name would be included on the charge sheet with her three companies but since there was delivery of works and genuine merchants' documents with a proper payment process done, Ms Waiguru had assured her that only “funny charges” would be preferred against her.

“That charge as promised, would be abuse of office and breach of public trust,” she said.

The CS had said that this would reduce the pressure for her to step aside and the charges would technically water down her case and also make it easy for the CS to assist her when public interest in the case subsided.

“CS Waiguru also informed me that she had pushed for charges of many people, including the permanent secretary and director-general so that she would not be implicated anywhere.

According to the CS, the idea was to paint the image of a vicious and uncontrollable cartel of crooked people working with senior officers, which then was beyond the control of the CS, she says.