Following the recent court ruling that seized Ksh. 200 million belonging to Kenya Kwanza coalition Deputy President candidate Rigathi Gachagua, the DCI has revealed the intrigues behind the alleged ‘money laundering’ scheme.
In a statement on Saturday, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations welcomed the ruling, saying that preliminary investigations by its Serious Crimes Unit had linked the MP to the corruption charges.
DCI said Gachagua, as the Mathira MP, had secured different tenders from government agencies using different accounts registered in the names of unsuspecting youths with one primary account at Rafiki Micro Finance (which the DCI said he owns) bearing his name.
“Using proxies who had registered over 20 companies, Rigathi obtained over Ksh.1.7 billion from close to 10 government ministries, state departments, parastatals and county governments paid through Rafiki micro-finance,” read the statement.
“The MP and two of his trusted female associates approached youths and women to register companies and open accounts at Rafiki micro-finance, then used his influence and blackmail to secure tenders for the companies.”
The substitute accounts, the DCI explained, were however discovered to list one of Gachagua’s trusted confidants and personal assistant Julianne Jahenda as a signatory at the micro-finance institution account.
The micro-finance then managed to award loans to the youths and assisted them in supplying the required goods which the DCI said were mostly faulty and substandard thus leading to losses in the different sectors of government.
With most targets being hospitals, DCI noted: “In one such deal in 2014, a county-based in Central Kenya received medical equipment worth KSh27.4 million for the supply of dialysis machines and a water treatment plant. The tender for supply of the equipment was awarded to 13 companies, all allied to Rigathi.”
“However, the payment was made in a single voucher through Rafiki Micro Finance, then transferred to Rigathi’s personal accounts. This is despite the fact that one of the dialysis machines and the water treatment plant supplied were not functional, prompting the national government through Managed Equipment Scheme (MES) to come through by supplying eight dialysis machines and a water treatment plant that is currently in use at the hospital,” added the statement.
In the same light, another hospital on the South Coast is said to have received Ksh. 12.7 million incinerators in 2014 which to date have never been used despite the county government depositing Ksh. 10 million. This was the case for a county in Western Kenya which was defrauded Ksh. 123.1 million.
Further investigations also revealed that soon after the tenders were paid to the proxies’ accounts at Rafiki, Jahenda immediately made the transfers to Gachagua’s different accounts who would then deposit the cash to other accounts to avoid detection.
The syndicate which the multi-agency body says left most suppliers with the burden of paying for loans acquired at the micro-finance, also revealed that the youths at some point would be forced to sign blank cheques which were later cashed and the money deposited to the lawmaker’s accounts.
“The seasoned sleuths established that there were funds going into Rigathi’s accounts from loans and inter-company transfers, indicating that he was the ultimate beneficiary of the funds received from the counties,” stated the DCI.
In yet another discovery, a background check on Jahenda prior to becoming Gachagua’s aide revealed that she was operating an M-Pesa shop in Nairobi’s Eastlands, during which she and another of the MP’s associates had transacted over Ksh. 254 million, which they could not account for.