ECONOMIC CRIMES

Gachagua released on Sh12m bail in Sh7.4bn graft case

Mathira MP's co-accused to take a plea on August 3

In Summary

• He was flanked by Tangatanga members, among them Kimani Ichung’wa, Irungu Kang'ata, Alice Wahome, Kipchumba Murkomen, Nixon Korir, Aaron Cheruiyot, Gladys Boss Sholei.

• The MP was represented by 10 lawyers. Kioko Kilukumi, the lead counsel, urged the court to release him on a personal bond, claiming that the manner in which he was arrested was a manifestation of abuse of police powers.

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua
ALLEGATIONS: Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua has secured his release after paying Sh12 million bail granted by an anti-corruption court in a Sh7.4 billion graft case.

Gachagua appeared before Milimani chief magistrate Lawrence Mugambi on Monday after spending the weekend in police custody. He was arrested at 3am in his Nyeri home on Friday.

Gachagua, an ardent supporter of Deputy President William Ruto, faced six counts of economic crimes, including conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, money laundering, and fraudulent acquisition of public property.

He was flanked by members of the Tangatanga wing of the ruling Jubilee Party, among them Kimani Ichung’wa, Irungu Kang'ata, Alice Wahome, Kipchumba Murkomen, Nixon Korir, Aaron Cheruiyot and Gladys Boss Shollei.

The lawmaker is said to have fraudulently received a sum of Sh7 billion through three different bank accounts in his name at Rafiki Micro-finance Bank. He received the property between 2013 and 2020 in Nairobi while knowing that it formed part of the proceeds of crimes.

On the charge of conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, Gachagua is charged alongside William Wahome, Anne Ruo, Julianne Makaa, Samuel Ireri, Grace Wambui, Lawrence Kimaru, Irene Wambui, David Nyangi and M/S Rapid Medical Supplies Limited.

The 10 are accused of conspiring to defraud the Nyeri county government of Sh27 million between May 2015 and December 2016. His co-accused persons were, however, not present in court. Gachagua denied any wrongdoing.

In respect of the fraudulent acquisition of public property, it is alleged Gachagua, Nyangi, and Rapid Supplies Ltd fraudulently acquired public property at Sh6 million. The money was part of a payment purportedly for the supply of dialysis machines to Nyeri Provincial General Hospital.

Gachagua further faced two counts of money laundering. He denied indirectly receiving Sh104 million from Bungoma county government and engaging in transactions to conceal the movement of the cash even with the knowledge that it was proceeds of crime.

He also allegedly indirectly received Sh7.5 million from the Kwale government between September 2015 and September 2016 in Nairobi with others not before court.

The MP was represented by 10 lawyers.

Kioko Kilukumi, the lead counsel, urged the court to release him on a personal bond, claiming the manner in which he was arrested was a manifestation of abuse of police powers.

He wanted the court to set a clear message that the ‘kamata kamata Friday’ style of arrest should not be tolerated and thus a personal bond was fit for him.

Magistrate Mugambi, however, urged the accused to pursue the issue of violation of his rights separately, adding that granting a personal bond to a person facing economic crimes would erode public confidence in the administration of justice.

He granted him Sh12 million bail, with an alternative bond of Sh25 million. He was detained within the court precinct until 5pm as he processed his bail.

The magistrate further issued summonses to the other nine accused persons who were not present in court. They will be required to attend court on August 3 for plea taking.

The matter will now be handled by magistrate Rose Makhungu as directed by Mugambi.