EACC SWOOP

EACC finds evidence linking Waititu to Sh600m county cash

EACC detectives comb through Waititu's Runda and Garden Estate homes for crucial documents in Sh588 million probe

In Summary

• Dozens of documents recovered during the simultaneous raids in his offices and homes.

• The governor was until last evening being held at the Integrity House for grilling.

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu before being escorted by the EACC security officials from his house in Kiambu on 23rd May 2019.
Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu before being escorted by the EACC security officials from his house in Kiambu on 23rd May 2019.
Image: VICTOR IMBOTO

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission on Thursday raided Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu’s homes and offices and found evidence linking him to Sh588 million county cash. 

The governor is accused of awarding tenders to companies associated with him and his immediate family members through which the millions were syphoned from public coffers.

EACC chief executive officer Twalib Mbarak said they found evidence linking Waititu to Sh588m irregular tenders, fraudulent acquisition of public funds, conflict of interest and money laundering.

Over 30 EACC detectives stormed the county chief’s Runda and Garden Estate homes in the wee hours of Thursday morning in search of crucial documents.

Later, the officers raided sub-county offices in Thika where they carried away hundreds of documents.

The officers in two teams combed the palatial homes and scoured luxury vehicles at the parking bay for the documents which are crucial to their investigations.

For over five hours the detectives stayed with the governor and his family inside the lavish Runda home before they drove him to Integrity centre for questioning at around noon.

The detectives also searched the governor’s offices and those of senior county officials where they carted away cartons full of documents.

The governor, used to being chauffeured in limousines, was humbled and bundled into a waiting van for his journey to the EACC headquarters.

The governor’s daughter Monica Njeri, a doctor at Kenyatta National Hospital, was a person of interest amid reports that millions of shillings were wired through her bank accounts.

The EACC said that there was cogent evidence that the governor was awarded the lucrative tenders through proxy firms fronted by himself and close members of his family.

“Preliminary investigations show that contractors paid monies to senior county officials, their companies or relatives through proxies,” EACC chief executive officer Twalib Mbarak said in a statement.

However, the EACC by last evening did not indicate whether they had arrested the governor or not only insisting that he had been asked to record a statement.

Waititu faces possible charges for fraudulent acquisition of public funds, conflict of interest and money laundering as the anti-graft agency tightens the noose on graft lords.

Preliminary investigations show that contractors paid monies to senior county officials, their companies or relatives through proxies
EACC chief executive officer Twalib Mbarak

The county boss who just last week bragged that Kenyans would “run mad or commit suicide” if they knew his massive wealth, could be arraigned to answer to the charges once investigations are complete.

Also in the EACC radar are ten top officials of Kiambu county government and directors of the firms in question as detectives seek to unravel the intricate graft web in the devolved unit.

Early this month the governor found himself on the spot after his county was found to be among 10 others with bizarre budget items including State House affairs and South Sudan peace initiatives.

However, the auditor general Edward Ouko later cleared the counties saying the audit queries flagged by the Senate committee were an issue of “bad reporting”.

Waititu who has been hobnobbing with Deputy President William Ruto is said to live by the mantra that power does not come without wealth and influence.

This could perhaps explain his property acquisition spree that has landed him in trouble, with EACC now pushing to prosecute him and a couple of his associates for corruption.

In the two years he has been in office as Kiambu governor, Waititu is alleged to have bought multi-billion buildings in Nairobi’s Central Business District among other properties.

In what lifted the lid on the governor’s penchant for massive wealth, on August 15, 2018, his wife Susan Wangari and 13 others were arrested for carrying out construction works at a building in the CBD without City Hall approval.

This swirled speculation that the governor had acquired multi-billion property including the five-storey Delta Hotel along University Way and Jamii Bora Building on Koinange Street.

However, questions persisted over the source of his billions yet it has been barely two years since he assumed office after the 2017 general elections.

But Waititu also known as Baba Yao confirmed in an interview last year that he bought the two buildings using proceeds from the sale of his two petrol stations along Kangundo road.

“I topped up the amount from the sale with a bank loan. I am a Kenyan with access to loan facilities. Which law bars me from taking a loan and buying property in the city?” he asked in an interview last year.

Questions have persisted over the source of Waititu's billions yet it has been barely two years since he assumed office after the 2017 general elections.

But Waititu also known as Baba Yao confirmed in an interview last year that he bought two buildings using proceeds from the sale of his two petrol stations along Kangundo road.

It is claimed the value of the two buildings is close to Sh2 billion, with Delta Hotel costing Sh800 million while Jamii Bora is valued at about Sh1 billion.

Waititu defended his new founded wealth saying, “I want people to know that even before venturing into politics 20 years ago as a councillor, I was already driving a Mercedes and a Range Rover, besides owning a palatial home in Nairobi and operating a fleet of 25 lorries.”

Waititu who has been in politics for about 17 years now, was first elected councillor for Njiru ward in 2002.

He has been a deputy mayor, an assistant minister for Water, and MP for Embakasi and Kabete constituencies respectively.

Last week the governor told off critics of his wealth that they would go insane or commit suicide if they knew his property.

“People should stop being jealous. When you hear someone has his own building, one should look for theirs. When someone is being elected for any seat they are not poor; they have their own plans and I had mine,” he said.

He went on, “My first building in Nairobi is not 20 years and if I took some of my critics to Nairobi they would become insane if they knew the buildings I own. I only wear a simple shirt and move forward,” he said in an interview.

“I would be living in the old Muthaiga where those who got property long ago live. Ask those who know me well. I am lucky because some people look at my face and think I am not clever but I do not care. Then they get amazed at how I went to the other side,” Waititu said.

He urged people not to judge harshly if they have no proof of what one owns unless the owner of the property showed them.