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Kiambu MCAs lose bid to join Waititu's Sh588m graft case

Thursday October 17 2019

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu 

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu at the Supreme Court on September 18, 2019, during the hearing of his case against High Court orders on performance of his duties following corruption claims. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

RICHARD MUNGUTI
By RICHARD MUNGUTI
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The Anti-Corruption Court has dismissed an application by 12 members of the Kiambu assembly to be joined to the Sh588 million corruption case against Governor Ferdinand Waititu.

Mr Waititu, his wife Susan and eight others are facing prosecution over an irregular Sh588 million tender award.

They denied corruptly receiving more than Sh50 million while knowing it came from the county and were all released on bond.

NO MERIT

In a ruling on Thursday, Milimani Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi said the application by the MCAs and the Kiambu chapter of the Bunge Mashinani lobby group lacked merit.

He also said that inclusion of the parties in the case would only day its disposal and the dissemination of justice.

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"The averment that the MCAs want to watch over the interests of the majority of Kiambu residents does not hold water," Mr Mugambi added, noting they are the watchdog at the assembly.

He also said their desire to watch the conduct of the embezzlement case was beyond their purview.

"BUSYBODIES"

Regarding public interest in the case, Mr Mugambi said the Director of Public Prosecution and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission were on the watch.

In addition, the Independent Police Oversight Authority (Ipoa) and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) had sought permission to watch briefs in the case.

“The DPP and EACC represent public interest. MCAs can only render their roles at the county assembly where distribution of public funds takes place," Mr Mugambi said.

The court upheld the objection of defence lawyer Mbiyu Kamau, who dismissed the lawmakers and lobby groups as busybodies keen on delaying the case against the governor, his wife and several others.

The magistrate said, “As pointed out by Mr Kamau, some of the applicants are busybodies whose participation in the trial will elongate it without adding any value."

He dismissed the MCAs' application, directed them to pursue their interests at the High Court and said the case against Mr Waititu will proceed.

ACCUSATIONS

The governor is accused of knowingly acquiring an indirect private interest in the contracts Kiambu awarded to Testimony Enterprises Limited as shown by payments receipts of Sh 25,624,500.

He allegedly made the irregular payments between July 2, 2018 and March 13.

In the same period and being a director of his company, Saika Two Estate Developers Limited, Mr Waititu allegedly paid himself Sh18,410,500 from Testimony Enterprises through corrupt conduct.

He and his wife are separately accused of dealing with suspect property by paying themselves Sh7,214,000 through their other company, Bienvenue Delta Hotel.

CO-ACCUSED

Testimony Enterprise is owned by a couple who were also charged in the case.

Mr Charles Chege and his wife Beth Wangeci were charged with three counts o- money laundering, fraudulent acquisition of public property and engaging in procurement fraud.

They allegedly used a false recommendation letter from China Wu Yi Company and a fake degree certificate while submitting tender documents for upgrading various gravel roads.

Mr Chege and Ms Wangeci are accused of fraudulently acquiring Sh147,274,055.40 for the contract, and transferring Sh12,410,500, Sh6 million and Sh7,214,000 from their company to that of the Waitutus on various dates.

They are also accused of facilitating the sale of Bienvenue Delta to the Waititus.

Zacharia Njenga, Joyce Ngina, Simon Kabocho, Anselm Gachukia and Samuel Muigai, who were the evaluation tender committee members, were charged with wilful failure to comply with procurement laws.

Luka Mwangi, the chief officer for roads, transport, public works and utilities, was charged with abuse of office for improperly conferring a benefit in the award of the disputed tender.