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Ferdinand Waititu, nine others face arrest over graft

Friday July 26 2019
WAIPIC

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu leaves the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission offices in Nairobi on May 28, 2019 after being questioned over economic crimes. DPP Noordin Haji has ordered his arrest. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ABIUD OCHIENG

Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu is set to spend the weekend in police custody after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on Friday ordered for his arrest and prosecution over Sh580 million irregular tender.

Others to be arrested are his wife Susan Wangari Ndung’u (director, Bienvenue Delta Hotel), Lucas Waihenya (chief officer roads, Kiambu County), and tender evaluation committee members Zakary Njenga Mbugua, Joyce Musyoka, Simon Kabocho, Anselm Gachukia, and Samuel Muigai.

Also to be arrested are Charles Chege, and Beth Wangeci, who are directors of Testimony Enterprises Ltd.

GRAVEL ROADS

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has been investigating allegations of irregular procurement of a tender for the upgrading of various gravel roads to bituminous surface in the county, awarded to M/s Testimony Enterprises Ltd worth Sh588 million during the financial year 2017/2018.

It is alleged that the directors of M/s Testimony Enterprises were close associates of the governor, and they had already been paid Sh147.3 million.

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The firm was also awarded several other contracts amounting to over Sh74 million. Once the funds were paid from Kiambu county government, Sh25.6 million was remitted to entities associated with the governor.

READ: Sh1 billion rehab project gets Waititu into trouble

“Having independently reviewed the evidence in the inquiry file and the report, I am satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to sustain charges against the suspects,” DPP Noordin Haji said in a statement on Friday.

The charges against the suspects include conflict of interest, abuse of office, wilful failure to comply with the law on procurement, engaging in fraudulent practices, fraudulent acquisition of property, and money laundering.

The decision by the DPP comes at a time when Mr Waititu has filed an application at the high court seeking to stop his prosecution. He argues that he has a right to privacy which includes the right not to have his person, home or property searched or any of his possession seized. He also feels he is entitled to have information in relation to his family or private affairs not to be unnecessarily revealed.

KAA SOBER PROGRAMME

Mr Waititu has also been on the EACC sleuths radar over alleged questionable expenditure for, among other things, the controversial Kaa Sober programme, which cost over Sh2 million per day contrary to the Public Finance Management Act.

The governor has not been informed of the investigations being conducted against him and, has not been given the opportunity to respond.

“The anti-corruption court irrationality and unreasonably gave an impermissibly overbroad authorisation of search and seizure with a single sweeping blanket warrant that enabled EACC to carry out simultaneous and multiple areas of search and seizure,” Mr Waititu in court papers.

READ: Waititu questioned on Sh588m tenders as graft war hots up

He has requested the High Court to call for the magistrate court file which granted the search warrants to EACC, and to examine it with the view of determining as to the legality, and correctness of the orders on May 22, this year.

Mr Waititu’s arrest on May 23, came a day after the Kiambu County Assembly hurriedly passed a supplementary budget in which it approved an expenditure of Sh722 million under the controversial programme.

The Council of Governors, led by chair and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, had earlier expressed its displeasure at how Mr Waititu was treated, while also expressing support for the fight against corruption.

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