Prosecutors not ready for Gachagua's Sh7bn graft case

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua. The Sh7 billion corruption case he is facing failed to kick off on December 7, 2021.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Sh7 billion corruption case facing Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua failed to kick off on Tuesday following a delay by prosecutors to conclude the process of furnishing him with documentary evidence.

When the case came up for the status conference and fixing of hearing dates in a Nairobi court, the magistrate heard that the trial could not commence because the state prosecutors were not ready.

The defence lawyers told the court that owing to the prosecution’s delay, they were yet to countercheck the documents.

“We confirm we have received some documents but there is need to confirm the same against an inventory which has just been supplied to one of us this morning. There is high possibility what is in this inventory (list of the documents) is not what we have in our possession,” said the defence lawyers.

While appearing before Senior Principal Magistrate Rose Makungu at the anti-corruption court in Milimani, the advocates also said they were yet to be furnished with the statement of the case by the investigating officer.

Suspected proceeds of crime

The case against Mr Gachagua started in July 2021. He is facing six charges of acquisition of Sh7.3 billion, suspected to be proceeds of crime, between the 2013 and 2020 through business dealings with the government.

The charges include conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, fraudulent acquisition of public funds, conflict of interest, money laundering and acquisition of proceeds of crime.

His eight co-accused include Mathira NG-CDF manager William Wahome Mwangi, who is also chairman of Tana Water Works Development Agency.

The others include Ann Nduta Ruo, Jullianne Jahenda Makaa, Samuel Murimi Ireri, Grace Wambui Kariuki, Lawrence Kimaru, Irene Wambui Ndigiriri, David Reuben Nyangi Nguru and Rapid Medical Supplies Ltd. They are out on bail.

‘Get it right’

The court Tuesday heard that the documentary evidence runs to over 900 pages and the parties require sufficient time to peruse them and ensure they “get it right from the beginning”.

“I am the one who went to collect the documents (from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations). Yesterday, l had no inventory to countercheck. The statement of the investigating officer was not part of the documents and, therefore, remained unsupplied,” said defence lawyer Wyclife Nyabuto.

The magistrate adjourned the conference to February 24, 2022 to confirm if the state has disclosed and served the accused with the documentary evidence while the hearing is scheduled to start on September 5, 2022. The prosecution plans to call at least 45 witnesses in the case.

“One main objective of the trial, and as per the practice directions, is that hearing of anti-corruption matters must be expeditious. Evidence ought to be served to ensure the case takes off timeously,” said the magistrate.


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