Former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu loses control of his assets

Former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu.

Former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu has lost control of his assets after they were frozen by the High Court pending determination of a forfeiture suit filed by the anti-corruption watchdog.

The frozen assets include 18 parcels of land owned by Mr Waititu and his wife Susan Wangari. Also frozen are their six motor vehicles and one tractor.

In the order issued by Justice Esther Maina the court has restrained them and their agents from transferring, selling, transferring or charging the assets pending determination of the case. The judge directed that the case be mentioned on June 16 for hearing directions.

In the case filed by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the government is seeking to recover the couple’s unexplained wealth valued at Sh1.9 billion. Part of the wealth is registered under Mr Waititu’s three trading companies.

The trading entities are listed as Saika two estate developers limited, Bienvenue delta hotel and Bins management services limited. 

EACC says the couple owns unexplained assets worth Sh1,937,709,376 amassed by Mr Waititu from 2015 when he was the Kabete MP up to 2020 when he served as the governor.

The unexplained wealth empire comprise landed property, luxurious motor vehicles and money transacted through bank accounts. He was Kabete MP from 2015 to 2017 and Kiambu governor between 2017 and 2020.

According to EACC, during the period Mr Waititu’s income from salary and his known legitimate business could not have exceeded Sh110 million. This means he made wealth that is 17 times more.

When asked the source of the wealth, EACC says the couple failed to explain despite being pressed to do so.

On September 9, 2021 the Commission says it issued notices to the couple and the trading companies to explain the disproportion in their assets with their known legitimate sources of income.

“They have up to date not furnished the EACC with any explanation as to their sources of wealth despite extension of period as requested by them and return of documents obtained during the search to enable them do so,” says the Commission’s lawyer Jacky Kibogy. 

Court documents indicate that Mr Waititu amassed wealth that is not commensurate to his known and legitimate sources of income, during the stated period of 2015 and 2020.

The commission established that Mr Waititu operated eight bank accounts and one loan account under his name during the period.

Mr Waitutu acquired five luxury motor-vehicles, 15 properties including in upmarket suburbs of Runda, Migaa and Thindigua and three multi-storey buildings situated in Nairobi Central Business District.

EACC alleges that Mr Waititu abused his position of trust as a public officer for private gain by engaging in transactions which were in conflict with public interest and amassed wealth by engaging in schemes to embezzle public funds through fictitious and fraudulent procurement contracts.

The assets that EACC is pursuing include the multi-storey commercial buildings in Nairobi CBD such as Jamii Bora Building bought by Mr Waititu at Sh200 million, Delta Hotel (Sh380 million), Biashara shopping Mall (Sh110 million), a house in Runda (Sh30 million), Runda Grove (Sh96 million).

They also own various other multi-million prime properties and buildings spread across the capital city and the metropolitan area.

EACC says that among the questionable properties owned by Mr Waititu personally are ten land parcels in Nairobi Kayole (two plots), Thindigua (two plots), Embakasi Ranching (two plots), Runda Grove, Migaa Esatte, Lakisama and Kencom Sacco-Runda. 

They are valued at Sh280.5 million. The two plots in Kayole, valued at Sh20 million, were registered in the name of Mr Waititu and two and two minors, E.N. and O.W.

The Commission is also questioning acquisition of five motor vehicles, all registered in his name. They include two Toyota Land Cruisers, one Toyota Double Cabin, Toyota Probox and Toyota Vitz. EACC is also eyeing a sum of Sh804.6 million held in his seven bank accounts.

Towards his wife, EACC is questioning her ownership of four pieces of land in Kajiado and Kabete valued at Sh19 million and one motor vehicle that she co-owns with Ekeza Savings. Also in the list is an amount of Sh276.2 million held in her three bank accounts.

The wife is also the sole proprietor of two companies - Suwanga Limited and Connex Logistics Africa Limited – which companies traded with the County Government of Kiambu and received a sum of Sh16,423,418.

The commission argues that investigations established that Mr Waititu’s assets from the known legitimate sources of income during the period under review are a net salary of Sh29,514,080 while from his legitimate businesses he earned a net income of Sh81,366,610.

“Investigations established that he colluded with officials of the County Government of Kiambu to embezzle public funds through fictitious and fraudulent procurement contracts.

He, in abuse of his position of trust concealed or otherwise disguised his private interest in contracts awarded to companies contracted to offer services to the County,” says the EACC.

The contractors transferred proceeds of the fictitious procurement contracts to Mr Waititu, his wife and their companies as kick-backs.