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September 23, 2018

Ex-Nyandarua governor, two officials arraigned in graft case

Former Nyandarua governor Daniel Waithaka,former executive for water Grace Gitonga and water engineer,Kihiu Gichinga in Nyahururu Court yeaterday morning.
Former Nyandarua governor Daniel Waithaka,former executive for water Grace Gitonga and water engineer,Kihiu Gichinga in Nyahururu Court yeaterday morning.

Former Nyandarua governor Daniel Waithaka and two former officials were arraigned on Friday in Nyahururu in connection with the loss of Sh50 million.

Waithaka and former Water executive Grace Gitonga and former Water engineer Kihiu Gichinga did not enter pleas.

Nyahururu resident magistrate James Wanyanga said the court did not have the jurisdiction to hear corruption cases.

They were referred to the High Court in Nakuru, where they were set to take a plea later in the day.

The three were arrested on Thursday after they presented themselves at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption offices in Nyeri.

They are charged with failing to comply with procurement laws, engaging in projects without prior planning, abuse of office and imprudent acquisition of public property.

The county government had in 2014 signed a deal with Tahal Ltd from Israel to do a water master plan and sewerage system for Ol Kalou town.

The county paid Sh50 million to the company.

On Thursday, EACC Central manager Charles Rasugu said, “We have been investigating this matter for a long time and the governor will definitely be taken to court. We believe we have enough evidence to prove our case.”

Two more suspects in the matter, John Ngigi and Jesse Wachira, are still at large.

Others are Tahal Consulting Engineers Ltd, Chen Yochanan and Albert Attias.

On Wednesday evening, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji ordered that the governor and seven other suspects be arrested and prosecuted.

A statement posted on the ODPP’s Twitter account on Wednesday night stated that the EACC established that the county unlawfully engaged M/S Tahal Consulting Engineers Limited in the development of a county water master plan.

The company was to design and review the Ol Kalou Town Sewerage System, Haji said, adding it was illegally paid a total of Sh50,470,513.

The ODPP said Tahal was engaged on February 2, 2016, yet the contract was entered into two years earlier, on April 30, 2014.

“At the time of the signing of the contract, Tahal was not a legal entity,” Haji said. “Nyandarua did not have a procurement plan or funds for the project for financial year 2013-14.”

The company was paid in two installments — one of Sh23,895,513 on July 2, 2014, and another of Sh26,575,000 on September 4, 2015.

The DPP said the county did not seek the approval of the Private Public Partnership Committee before signing the contract.

“The contract was signed and witnessed by members who were neither directors nor shareholders of the company,” he said.

Haji said the payments were not authorised and that documents concerning them were written long after the company was paid.

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