Former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero is facing mounting legal troubles as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) moves to recover Sh68 million allegedly lost in illegal payments to a law firm.
In a letter dated September 12, 2019, EACC gave Dr Kidero and his accomplices 14 days to pay up the money or face possible auction.
“We hereby demand against yourselves jointly and severally payment of the sum of Sh68 million in restitution, being Nairobi City County funds fraudulently paid and received,” the EACC letter reads.
EACC is demanding Sh14.4 million from Dr Kidero, Cups Ltd, George Wainaina Njogu and John Ngari Wainaina. It’s also seeking Sh600,000 from Cups Ltd, Mr Njogu and Mr Wainaina, Sh18.9 million from former Nairobi mayor John Ndirangu, Sh7 million from Paul Mutunga and Sh11 million from Hannah Muthoni Kariuki.
“Take note that if the said sum is not remitted to the commission within 14 days from the date of this letter, we shall institute recovery proceedings against you at your own risk as to costs and any other consequences without further reference to you,” EACC chief executive officer Twalib Mbarak states in the letter.
On Tuesday, Dr Kidero moved to court to challenge his prosecution over the Sh68 million scandal, alleging witch-hunt. “The prosecution has been mounted with a predominant purpose of achieving an illegal and ulterior motive, persecuting him as well as destroying his political reputation,” said his lawyer, Prof Tom Ojienda.
Dr Kidero argues that the genesis of the allegations arose in 2011 within the defunct City Council of Nairobi and decisions made to pay the said monies were made long before he became the city’s first governor.
He alleged that payments made by the county government during his tenure in office were simply outstanding legal fees due to the said law firm. But EACC, through its spokesperson, Yassin Amaro, says Dr Kidero should take full responsibility for the loss of the Sh68 million.
“It is true the project was mooted before he (Dr Kidero) came to office but it is him who implemented it during his tenure,” said Mr Amaro.
The spokesman also said the current demand for restitution does not have any impact on the ongoing court case involving the same.
The money had been paid by the Nairobi City County to now deceased Steven Mburu of Wachira, Mburu, Mwangi & Company Advocates.
But EACC alleges that Dr Kidero and his accomplices “conspired to carry out a fraudulent scheme through the filing of a fictitious suit by a non-existent plaintiff, who subsequently withdrew the purported suit causing the alleged claim and payment of legal fees of Sh68 million.”
Dr Kidero was charged on April 29 with conspiring to commit an offence of corruption, unlawful acquisition of public property, dealing with suspect property and money laundering with regard to the alleged loss of the Sh68 million. The trial is pending.