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EACC to challenge court ruling on Waititu's bail

Sunday May 26 2019

Corruption

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu (right) is arrested by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission detectives at his Nairobi home on May 23, 2019 and taken in for questioning over alleged abuse of office. Most county chiefs have been accused of graft. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

 NYAMBEGA GISESA
By NYAMBEGA GISESA
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The complex task of joining dots in the investigations into the irregular award of tenders in Kiambu County government worth Sh588 million continued over the weekend with detectives requesting banks to provide details of 50 accounts that have been fingered for suspect deposits.

The Nation has established that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) are after the bank accounts associated with governor Ferdinand Waititu, his family members and proxies.

The financial institutions have been asked to provide a breakdown of all transactions including balance sheets of the bank accounts.

The agency is also looking at 35 different properties, which include luxurious mansions that the governor is constructing in Runda estate, the Delta Hotel building situated in Nairobi CBD worth billions of shillings and a luxurious tourist hotel located in Naivasha, to establish whether they were acquired through corruption or through proceeds of corruption.

By Friday, detectives had confirmed that most of the 12 personal cars recovered at the governor’s residences during the raid belonged to him.

12 CARS

EACC is accusing the county boss of involvement in the irregular award of tenders valued at Sh588 million, fraudulent acquisition of public funds, conflict of interest and money laundering. Mr Waititu has denied all the allegations as the probe continues.

During the raid, investigators said crucial documents indicating transfer and ownership of properties were recovered and that they could play a big role in the probe.

Detectives also said that the probe will extend to other relatives of the governor, members of the Kiambu County Assembly and county government employees.

“This investigation has many dimensions involved and the involvement of several persons of interest. Although it might take a while to be concluded, we will fast track the probe to the best of our abilities,” EACC chief executive officer Twalib Mbarak said.

FAMILY TRANSACTIONS

The detectives on Friday recorded statements from Monica Njeri Ndung’u, the daughter of governor Waititu, who is said to be a person of interest in the investigations.

“She is integral in this investigations as she appears to be controlling the family transactions,” a detective, who requested not to be named, said.

Ms Ndung’u, a 2014 graduate of medicine and surgery from the University of Nairobi, was picked by police from the Kenyatta National Hospital premises where she works.

Governor Waititu, his wife Susan Wangari, five senior county officials and two directors of companies that are said to have benefited from tenders worth hundreds of millions of shillings from the county also recorded statements.

But further probing of the suspects was stopped after the governor and the Kiambu County finance chief officer Faith Njeri Harrison managed to obtain anticipatory bail orders on Friday stopping their arrest.

According to the orders issued by Kiambu Principal Magistrate Bryan Khaemba, there will be an inter partes hearing on the matter on May 30. The judge ordered that the governor and Ms Harrison should be escorted to the nearest police station by their lawyers and explained to the reasons for their arrests without fearing that they will be detained. Yesterday, the Sunday Nation learnt that EACC was planning to challenge the decision on anticipatory bail this week.

FAKE DOLLARS

As investigations on the Kiambu governor intensified, the courts on Friday evening announced that they will announce a trial date for Samburu Governor Moses Kasaine Lenolkulal next week. Senior Principal Magistrate Felix Kombo informed governor Lenolkulal’s lawyers to avail themselves without fail for a pretrial conference which is set for June 5 even as the governor intends to be away from June 3 to June 11. The county chief will be away in the US to attend a masters class programme.

The Samburu county boss is charged alongside 13 others for conspiring to commit the offence of corruption, which led to unlawful payment of Sh85 million to Mr Lenolkulal through a petrol station known as Oryx Service Station.

According to our investigations and interviews with various actors in the ongoing probe, a specific team of investigators at the EACC, who are tasked with regular monitoring of county bosses and senior county officials, are said to have raised the red flag on suspect deposits and withdrawals in Kiambu in February.

Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has also been trailing various officials from the Kiambu County government after receiving complaints of money laundering and suspect dealings.

The trail resulted in the dramatic chase and arrest on April 29 Ms Harrison along Mpaka Road in Nairobi.

During the arrest, Ms Harrison was found with fake US dollars while driving a double cabin car with GK number plates instead of county government registration.

Additional reporting by Maureen Kakah.