Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, his wife and daughter will soon be arrested to face graft-related charges. The Director Public Prosecution Noordin Haji has already approved their prosecution, alongside eight chief officers at the county and businessmen. Sources at Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) told The Standard their arrests are imminent. EACC has recommended that the governor be charged with conflict of interest, dealing with suspect property, abuse of office involving a tender worth Sh588 million and fraudulent acquisition of Sh221 million public property. The commission is also expected to prosecute the governor’s wife, Susan Wangari Ndung’u, and their daughter, Monica Njeri. Also facing charges is Lucas Waihinya, the county chief officer of roads. Others are five members of tender committee who evaluated the contract in question. They are Zacharia Njenga Mbugua, Joyce Ngina Musyoka, Simon Kabocho Kang’ethe, Anselm Gachukia Wanjiku and Samuel Muigai Mugo. M/S Testimony Enterprises Limited, the company that was awarded the tender for roads, its director Charles Mbuthia Chege and his wife Beth Wangeci are also on EACC’s radar. Another company, Bieneveu Delta Hotel Limited, where the governor and his wife are directors, and Saika Two Estate Developers Limited, where Waititu and his daughter are directors, are also targeted for prosecution.
Possible charges include engaging in fraudulent procurement, willful failure to comply with the law relating to procurement and money laundering. EACC was last evening said to be planning how to implement the recommendation to prosecute the suspects. Last week, the governor unsuccessfully moved to court seeking orders to stop EACC from arresting or investigating him further. Yesterday, High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi declined to hear the application citing personal reasons and transferred the file to Justice John Onyiego. Justice Onyiego directed the parties to pick a hearing date from the registry. The governor has been under investigations for the last three months when the EACC officials said they had obtained information pointing to serious corruption.
EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak had last month said they were investigating county officials on claims of irregular procurement, fraudulent acquisition of public funds, conflict of interest and money laundering. “On Governor Waititu and members of his family, preliminary investigations show contractors paid monies to senior county officials, their companies or relatives through proxies,” he said. EACC accused the governor of receiving money through his bank accounts and accounts of companies associated with him, his wife and their daughter. EACC alleges procurement irregularities and awarding tenders in Thika, Limuru, Gatundu North, Juja and Ruiru sub-counties. The tender attracted five bidders. The evaluation committee recommended that the tender be awarded to Testimony Enterprise Limited at a sum of Sh588 million.
The evaluation report was given to the head of procurement who prepared a professional opinion and submitted it to Waihinya, says EACC. “The opinion pointed out gaps which the accounting officer disregarded as minor and proceeded to award the tender and sign the contract,” noted the EACC probe. Detectives claim the tender committee contravened the criteria set out and instead introduced requirements in favour of the winning bidder. It is alleged Waihinya ignored the head of procurement’s opinion advising against awarding the tender. “Some annexures of the winning bidder have been disowned by purported authors,“ read the findings. The EACC officers claim there is no commensurate work done on the ground by the contractor to warrant a payment of Sh147million. “The little that has been done is substandard as part of the road is already worn out and full of potholes,” EACC alleges. It is alleged that Sh25.4 million, part of the Sh221million paid to the contractor, has been traced to bank accounts of companies associated with Waititu and family members. “The remainder of the monies received by the contractor is believe to have been either withdrawn in cash or transferred to other destinations which the investigators are still pursuing.” Other than the contract document, the official established that all other tender processing documents and payment instruments, which include interim payment certificates and payment vouchers described the roads as ‘various’ without specification. The officers claim what they unearthed can only be interpreted as an avenue for making arbitrary payments. The contractor has so far been paid Sh221 million by the county of which Sh147 million is for the subject tender while the remainder is for the other road tenders which the county had awarded. An affidavit by EACC investigator Regina Ng’ang’a detailed how two companies the commission said are owned by Waititu, his wife and daughter, received up to Sh30.6 million from a firm awarded a tender to construct roads late last year and early this year. EACC said Testimony, which had been “irregularly” paid a substantial amount without producing certificates required to show the work done”, received Sh180 million between April last year and last April.