Gachagua: We’ll seize assets of graft-tainted Uhuru allies

DP Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. 

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

The government will repossess the illicit wealth of senior figures in former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration who masterminded “state capture” to enrich themselves, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has said.

Mr Gachagua, however, said the government would not form a judicial commission to investigate people involved in state capture, because the priority was currently on lowering the cost of living.

Speaking during an interview on Inooro TV on Sunday, the DP said the corruption cartel comprised “about 10 people who stole billions from the economy in manipulated deals”. 

 “They were very vocal in telling Kenyans not to vote for thieves yet they were the real thieves. They had started subdividing public land among themselves in Galana Kulalu [in Coast region] and in Kibiku in Ngong,” he said on Inooro TV, adding that the “thieves had even captured Kenya Airways, which charges the highest air travel rates in the world and whose aeroplanes operate on full capacity but would be said to be making losses”.

Shaming individuals

He added that the cartels owned banks and controlled interest rates and every public policy was designed to earn them handsome profits.

Mr Gachagua said President William Ruto is not keen on naming and shaming individuals in the cartel “but, certainly, we will cancel their ill-gotten title deeds, deals and interests”.

He added that the same cartels were behind police corruption and extra-judicial killings.

“All those officers and their masters who murdered Kenyans ... left people orphans, widows and widowers ... we might not come after you but you will never find peace,” he said.

He said the same state capture cartel was behind grand corruption at the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). But, he added, the fund will be restructured to assume the role of a civil service health insurer. 

“We have since picked Mr Michael Kamau as the NHIF board chairman. A man who the former regime persecuted even when it was clear that he was among the most patriotic and committed civil servants. He suffered for being a friend of Dr Ruto,” Mr Gachagua said, adding that Mr Kamau will soon bar “those thieving private sector health insurers from covering government employees”.

Mr Gachagua claimed influential families were behind graft cartels in the milk, tea and coffee sectors and were blocking reforms so that they could continue enslaving farmers. 

“The cartel even borrowed money to pay tea bonuses from the big man’s banks to make money and deceptively make farmers believe that the sector had been reformed,” he said.

The loan, Mr Gachagua said, left farmers heavily indebted.

 “We will not pay for that loan since farmers did not approve it,” he said, vowing that “the President will not accept since it was a creation of the big man’s cartel”.

He went on to say that it was during their four-day retreat at the Fairmont Hotel in Nanyuki that they decided to drop their quest of investigating state capture to focus on delivering on their promise to Kenyans.

Judicial commission

Before taking office, the President had announced the impending formation of a judicial commission to investigate “state capture and conflict of interest”.

“If we keep following these people, we will lose track of our promise to Kenyans. Therefore, we are focusing on what will benefit Kenyans by reviving the economy and improving agriculture and other sectors,” Mr Gachagua said on Sunday.

The DP called for patience among Kenyans who were calling for the lowering of the cost of living, saying, the new government should be given enough time to put its house in order.