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Rigathi Gachagua appeals High Court decision ordering him to forfeit Sh202m

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua. [George Njunge, Standard]

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua has appealed against the decision to forfeit Sh202 million in his account to the government.

In the notice of appeal filed through lawyer Kioko Kilukumi, the MP, who is also United Democratic Alliance presidential candidate’s running mate, said he was not satisfied with the High Court’s ruling that he acquired the money through corruption. He wants the Court of Appeal to overturn the decision.

“Mr Gachagua being dissatisfied with the decision of High Court Judge Esther Maina delivered on Thursday last week intends to appeal to the Court of Appeal against the whole decision,” said Kilukumi.

The MP claimed he was not accorded a fair hearing by the High Court and wants the Appellate Court to stop the Asset Recovery Agency from seizing the money in his accounts at Rafiki Microfinance Bank, pending determination of the appeal.

Justice Maina last week ordered Gachagua and his business associate Anne Kimemia, trading as Jenne Enterprises Ltd, to surrender the funds to government after finding that they were acquired through corruption.

According to the judge, ARA had proven beyond any reasonable doubt that Gachagua and his associates engaged in corrupt practices and acquired the millions, which they could not explain.

Among the state agencies the MP illegally traded with are the Ministry of Lands, State Department for Special Planning, Ministry of Health, Bungoma and Nyeri County governments, Mathira Constituency Development Fund and the National Irrigation Board.

“There is no evidence that they delivered any services or goods to the state agencies they traded with. It leaves the court with no option but to declare that the money constitute proceeds of crime and corruption that must be forfeited to the state,” ruled Justice Maina.

She said the only evidence the MP took to court was a letter from a government ministry claiming that his company had been awarded a multimillion shillings contract, but there was no evidence that he executed the contract or supplied the goods and services.

The court also found that Gachagua lied that he had acquired the money through loans, since he did not provide a single evidence to prove the claims.

The judgment was a culmination of three years of investigations in which the state agency gave blow-by-blow account of how the MP used underhand deals to acquire his wealth without breaking a sweat.

In its trail of Gachagua’s ill-gotten wealth, ARA established that he was involved in a complex scheme of money laundering with several companies that received funds from government ministries before the money was transferred to his personal accounts.

According to ARA, Gachagua’s three personal accounts conducted a series of huge suspicious debit transactions amounting to Sh7.3 billion and a total credit of Sh12.5 billion between 2013 and 2020, which they believe are proceeds of crime.

Out of the huge bank transactions, the agency claimed that the MP and his business associates could not explain how they acquired a total of Sh202 million, which has been forfeited to the state.

One of the accounts registered in Gachagua’s name at Rafiki Micro Finance Bank had Sh165 million. The second account, also at Rafiki Micro Finance Bank, had Sh35 million. The third had Sh773,228, and the fourth, named Jenne Enterprises, had Sh1.3 million.

ARA’s application detailed how the MP, while trading under different companies, would receive millions of shillings from different state agencies and hurriedly transfer them to other entities and personal bank accounts to conceal the source.

Among the companies he used as conduits for the proceeds are Wamunyoro Investment Ltd, Specific Supplies Ltd, Wamunyoro Investments and Machine Cent, Crystal Kenya Ltd and Technical Supplies and Services Ltd.