Former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Ndungu Waititu and his wife Susan Wangari Ndung’u obado

Former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Ndungu Waititu and his wife Susan Wangari Ndung’u. 

| File | Nation Media Group

When corruption is a family affair: Inside Sh8 billion graft cases

More than Sh8 billion is at the centre of ongoing court cases facing 12 families, tender tycoons and business partners implicated in corruption and tax evasion.

They were docked together after being caught up in alleged economic crimes such as theft of public funds, fraud, conspiracy to commit corruption and bribery.

Other accusations facing them include possession of proceeds of crime, procurement irregularities, money laundering, conflict of interest and failure to pay taxes.

Among top government officials arraigned alongside their relatives are governors Okoth Obado (Migori) and Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi), former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu and former Kasarani MP Elizabeth Ongoro.

The court cases revealed a web of corruption and fraud where government officials and entrepreneurs trading with State agencies rope in their relatives for irregular supply tenders and kickbacks.

Defrauding Migori County

Mr Obado is alleged to have conspired with contractors and his four children to enrich themselves by defrauding the Migori County government of more than Sh505 million.

They are facing 27 charges, but the governor carries the lion’s share of 22 counts. Some of their assets and bank accounts were frozen by the State. The frozen assets include a house in Loresho Ridge in Nairobi and high-end motor vehicles.

Prosecutors say the governor pocketed Sh2.6 billion from county government coffers during his first term in office through tenders issued to the family’s 23 trading companies.

The children are Dan Achola, Susan Scarlet Okoth, Jerry Zachary Okoth and Adhiambo Evelyn Okoth.

Susan Scarlet Okoth, Governor Okoth Obado's daughter

 Ms Susan Scarlet Okoth, Governor Okoth Obado's daughter.

Photo credit: File | Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group
Evelyn Adhiambo Governor Okoth Obado's daughter

Ms Evelyn Adhiambo, Governor Okoth Obado's daughter. Prosecutors say Mr Obado’s four children separately received Sh34.5 million from companies directly associated with Mr Obado. 

Photo credit: File | Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group

The governor is accused of benefiting indirectly from Sh73.4 million paid to his four children, who received the money from companies that traded with the Migori County government between 2013 and 2017.

Used to pay school fees

The money is said to have been used to pay their school fees and purchase two high-end vehicles and residential property in Nairobi.

Prosecutors say Mr Obado’s four children separately received Sh34.5 million from companies directly associated with Mr Obado and which traded with the devolved unit. 

Mr Obado’s family was charged alongside the family of his business associate Peter Odoyo Olouch Kwaga.

Mr Kwaga’s relatives were his 72-year-old mother Peninah Auma, his wife Christine Akinyi, his sister-in-law Carolyne Anyango and his brothers Patroba Ochada and Joram Opala.

The charges facing them include conspiracy to commit an economic crime, unlawful acquisition of public property, conflict of interest and money laundering.

The case is proceeding at the anti-corruption court in Milimani, Nairobi, after Mr Kwaga failed in his bid to transfer the trial to Kisumu or a court near Migori.

Company associated with Njuki

Governor Njuki, who is seeking re-election, is being prosecuted for irregular awarding of a solid-waste project contract worth over Sh34 million. The contract was for the supply, installation and commissioning of an incinerator.

He was arraigned alongside 20 others, including his relatives Margaret Muthoni Mugweru and Allan Gitonga, the anti-corruption watchdog said.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) said the tender was awarded to Westomaxx Investments Ltd, which procured the incinerator from Generation Electronic & Allied Co. Ltd, which is associated with Governor Njuki.

Prosecutors also allege that Generation Electronic & Allied Co. Ltd had imported the generator to Kenya for Sh3.8 million. The trial is going on at a Magistrate Court in Embu after the case was transferred from Milimani, Nairobi.


Former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu is also in court battling a Sh588 million graft case alongside others, including his wife Susan.

Former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and his wife Susan Wangari Ndung’u

Former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and his wife Susan Wangari Ndung’u in a Nairobi Court on September 27, 2019, when they appeared for pre-trial of a case where, alongside eight others, they are charged with Sh588 million irregular road construction tender scam. 

Photo credit: File | Paul Waweru | Nation Media Group

The case involves conflict of interest, unlawful acquisition of public property and dealing with suspect property.

Their co-accused included another couple, Charles Chege and Beth Wangechi, directors of Testimony Enterprises Ltd.

During Mr Waititu’s tenure, the company received more than Sh180 million from the Kiambu County government without producing certificates required to show the work was done.

The company also won tenders to build roads and in return paid kickbacks of Sh25 million to Saika Two Estate Developers Ltd, which is owned by Mr Waititu.

The couple was charged with three counts of money laundering, fraudulent acquisition of public property and engaging in fraudulent practice in procurement. The case is being heard at the anti-corruption court in Milimani.

Non-existent school

Former Kasarani MP Elizabeth Ongoro

Former Kasarani MP Elizabeth Ongoro. 

Photo credit: File | Kanyiri Wahito | Nation Media Group

Former Kasarani MP Elizabeth Ongoro is being prosecuted alongside 12 others, including her husband Ferdinand Masha Kenga, over Sh49 million spent on the non-existent Kasarani Girls High School.

They faced nine charges of conspiracy to commit corruption, misappropriation of public funds, abuse of office, engaging in a project without prior planning, unlawful acquisition of public property and wilful failure to comply with procurement laws.

The EACC alleges that the accused embezzled the money from the Kasarani Constituency Development Fund (CDF) kitty. They allegedly committed the offence between May 2008 and December 2012 in Nairobi.

Evaded taxes, questionable wealth

Former Nyandarua Finance and Economic Planning chief officer Michael Kamau Kuria is battling charges in a Nyeri court that he evaded Sh116 million in taxes alongside his mother and wife.

Mr Kuria, 40, and his wife Catherine Wanjiku Njeri, his mother Agnes Wanjiku Kuria and business partner Henry Njoroge Gathiga were charged by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in 2019. They pleaded not guilty to 58 charges relating to tax offences.

They were charged as directors of six trading companies that did business with the Nyandarua County government during the administration of governor Waithaka Mwangi.

Nyandarua Finance and Economic Planning chief officer Michael Kamau Kuria

A house belonging to former Nyandarua Finance and Economic Planning chief officer Michael Kamau Kuria. It was being targeted for recovery by EACC.

Photo credit: Pool

The companies were named as Gachomba and Company Properties; Wanjohi Contractors and General Supplies Ltd; Olkalau Ventures; Kanjuiri General Contractors; Kaimbaga Enterprises; and Githioro Contractors. The case is coming up later this month, when the last prosecution witnesses will testify.

Mr Kuria and his wife are also involved in another case in Nairobi with the EACC over accumulation of questionable wealth amounting to Sh263 million. The EACC suspects the wealth to be proceeds of corruption, embezzlement and bribery.

The wealth – comprising nine land parcels in Kiambu, Nairobi and Nyandarua valued at Sh181 million, buildings and motor vehicles valued at over Sh6.5 million – was acquired between 2013 and 2016.

The properties and money held in three bank accounts at Equity Bank and four motor vehicles were frozen by the EACC pending the determination of the case, which is pending in the High Court’s anti-corruption and economic crimes division.

The EACC says the six trading companies and others known as Jilsu General Contractors & Supplies Ltd and Silverdola General Contractors & Supplies Ltd were incorporated by Mr Kuria’s wife, mother and the business partner during Mr Kuria’s tenure with the county government, “further indicating that the motive of registration was to corruptly take advantage of his newfound position”.

Lillian Omollo family

Lilian Mbogo-Omollo, the former Principal Secretary, State Department of Public Service and Youth Development. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Still in the government, former Youth and Gender principal secretary Lillian Mbogo Omollo and her three daughters Stephanie Mbogo, Sheela Mbogo and Shalom Mbogo were ordered to forfeit their Sh34 million to the State three years ago. The wealth was believed to have been proceeds of crimes acquired from the National Youth Service (NYS).

The money in US dollars and Kenya shillings ($105,293 and Sh22,445,487) was in 10 bank accounts belonging to Ms Omollo, her three companies – Sahara Consultants, Lidi Holdings Ltd and Lidi Estates Ltd – and her three children.

The forfeiture orders did not take effect pending the determination of an appeal lodged by Ms Mbogo, her companies and children.

Last month the Court of Appeal granted them leave to amend their memorandum of appeal. But the court is yet to allow them access to the frozen accounts or the money therein.

Suppliers in graft web

Business people operating as suppliers for the government have also been caught up in the graft web with their families.

Businessman Mukuria Ngamau, who is serving 27 years in prison after failing to raise a fine of Sh900 million for theft of money at the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF), was arraigned alongside his wife Doreen.

They were directors of Quorandum Company Ltd. Ms Ngamau was dropped from the prosecution during the trial while Mr Ngamau was in October 2021 found guilty of five counts of looting Sh180 million from the YEDF in 2013.

The couple’s assets, including a duplex apartment in Nairobi’s upmarket Lavington neighbourhood, were forfeited to the State’s Assets Recovery Agency (ARA).

Ngiritas and NYS millions

Still on entrepreneurs, a set of four family members – Lucy Wambui Ngirita, her daughters Ann Wambere and Phyllis Njeri, son Jerimiah Gichini and daughter-in-law Catherine Wanjiku Mwai – is in court after being linked to a Sh9 billion NYS scandal.

Ann Ngirita and her mother Lucy Ngirita

Ann Ngirita (right) and her mother Lucy Ngirita at the Milimani Law Courts on November 13, 2018.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The family is fighting charges related to Sh453 million paid to them by NYS for goods that were never supplied.

The case, which started in 2019, is split into three clusters of Sh60 million, Sh167 million and Sh226 million. The trial is underway in a Magistrate Court in Milimani.

Their money held in a bank, motor vehicles and properties in Waitaluk in Trans Nzoia County, Nakuru East, Njoro and Naivasha were forfeited to the State for being illegal proceeds.

They were separately charged with multiple counts relating to tax evasion amounting to more than Sh40 million. Their firms allegedly supplied various items to the scandal-ridden NYS between 2014 and 2018, as seen in payment vouchers obtained by the KRA from the Ministry of Devolution and Planning.

Gethi family

Ben Gethi NYS

Mr Ben Gethi in court. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Youthful businessman Ben Gethi, 38, his sister Jedidah Gethi and their mother Charity Wangui Gethi were also docked in court together in 2015 over claims that they stole Sh791 million from the NYS.

They faced multiple charges, including money laundering and fraudulent acquisition of public property.

The matriarch was cleared the following year by the High Court and her name was struck from the list of the accused persons, leaving her son and daughter in the trial that is still going on before Milimani Chief Magistrate Susan Shitubi.

Earlier this month, Mr Gethi was convicted in a separate corruption case where he had been charged alongside a relative named Joyce Makena.

They were convicted and sentenced by the anti-corruption court to a fine of Sh4 million each or in default serve a prison term of five years.

They were convicted on two counts of forging a tax compliance certificate from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and presenting it to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to qualify for a tender in 2012.

They forged the documents to win a Sh105 million tender to supply solar lanterns to the IEBC for use in the 2013 General Election.

Tax evasion

Businesswoman Mary Wambui Mungai and her daughter Purity Njoki are also in court fighting tax evasion claims amounting to Sh2.2 billion.

The two, who are directors of Purma Holdings, face eight counts involving failure to pay income tax and Value Added Tax.

It is said they conducted business with the government but failed to pay the KRA its share. They are accused of committing the offence between April 2015 and April 2020 in Nairobi County. They were arrested by the agency in December last year.

Still on tender tycoons, business partners John Waluke and Grace Wakhungu are in the High Court fighting a lower court’s ruling that sentenced them to a combined 136 years in prison for stealing Sh297 million from a State corporation.

They are also fighting a combined fine of Sh2 billion imposed by the Magistrate Court two years ago for alleged ‘supplying air’ to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).

In the recent court appearance, lawyers for Mr Waluke, who is also the Sirisia MP, admitted that he pocketed Sh50 million from the fraudulent NCPB maize supply deal 18 years ago.

They questioned why the trial court punished him by ordering him to pay two times the lost funds (Sh297 million) yet he received only Sh50 million. The court heard that Ms Wakhungu pocketed Sh40 million. The hearing of the appeal is underway.