What you need to know:
- She has bagged major government tenders that have raised her profile as one of the wealthy Kenyans who were bankrolling the party’s campaigns in the last General Election.
Born on December 12, 1963, Mary Wambui Mungai, the elusive woman in the Sh2.2 billion tax evasion case may not have known that one day she would have to dodge authorities to avoid taking the stand in court.
Those who know Ms Wambui say her present fortunes are a sharp contrast to her very humble upbringing in the remote village of Gachika, Gatundu South, where her parents still live today.
A March 26, 1999 Kenya Gazette notice lists her among candidates that passed that year’s Government Proficiency Examination for clerical officers, which she sat on Dec 1 and 2 the previous year.
The notice further indicates that she was then stationed at the Ministry of Health from where her fortunes began to grow over time to the point of her being appointed to sit on Kenyatta National Hospital’s board, an appointment that was revoked in April 2015.
Her deep connections in the Jubilee government are attributed to her bagging major government tenders that have raised her profile among wealthy Kenyans who were bankrolling the party’s campaigns in the last General Election.
The tenders include the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa)’s Sh90,000,000 Emergency Direct Procurement tender for supply of personal protective equipment through her Purma Holdings Company on June 23, last year.
She was also awarded a Sh30,500,000 tender to supply KN95 respirator face masks and three-ply ear-loop surgical masks through the same company on June 16, last year.
She also reportedly supplied the military with cereals, uniforms and boots, as well as other items to other state departments.
The tenderpreneur is also known for her love for the finer things in life. From driving high end vehicles, to imbibing expensive liquor -- her favourite being Martell VSOP, according to a source -- and living in a spacious mansion in Runda, Wambui is not the silent type.
“Her presence at a venue must be felt,” another source who knows her told the Nation, linking her to a top politician, whose businesses are linked with Wambui’s and with whom she enjoys a cordial relationship.
The source added that Ms Wambui’s investments range from real estate, with apartments in Thindigua and land, an upcoming hotel on the Northern Bypass and Purma Holdings Ltd -- the trading company whose profile indicates is a supplier of a variety of police and military uniform and accessories, including berets, camouflage material, army boots, webbing equipment, among others.
“We are well connected with what we do and we have a good relationship with our clients,” the profile says.
Ms Wambui is scheduled to sponsor a gold tournament at Kiambu Golf Club this Friday, even as detectives launch a manhunt for her across the country over her skipping court on Monday.
Tax evasion claims
A poster for the event says “Senior Lady Captain Mary Mungai” will sponsor the tournament that will be followed by an evening of drink and fun, themed “Club-Night Friday” that will adhere to Covid-19 safety rules.
Ms Wambui was first summoned to appear before the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in June this year to shed light on the tax evasion claims, but failed to show up. She did not also honour a Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) summons issued on Friday last week, raising questions over her whereabouts.
Court documents show she is facing eight counts of tax evasion at the Anti-Corruption Court in Milimani, for which she is yet to take a plea.
The charges are linked to Purma Holdings Ltd, whose ownership her daughters Evelyn Nyambura and Purity Njoki have distanced themselves from and sought to be excluded from the tax evasion charges facing their mother on grounds that they are no longer shareholders.
The officer Commanding Capitol Hill Police station in Nairobi has since been issued with her arrest warrant by the court.
The KRA has additionally issued an alert to seal all airports and border points to prevent her from leaving the country, following her decision to skip court to answer to failing to pay taxes accrued between 2014 and last year.