Danson Mungatana’s grace to grass sassy story
Once a high flying, youthful, polygamous Assistant Minister and now a fraud suspect, Danson Mungatana’s life is a classic case of grace to grass.
A flashy young lawyer, Mungatana was thrust into national limelight after the dramatic 2002 elections.
His ease with Kiswahili turned him into an attraction to TV journalists who regularly hosted him.
His cameo role at the late Vice-President Wamalwa Kijana’s colourful wedding to Yvonne Nambia after the 2002 polls as a groom’s man cemented his place in the minds of many.
Mungatana has served as an Assistant Minister in the ministries of Lands, Medical Services, Foreign Affairs and Provincial Administration and Internal Security.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in January 2014 appointed him to chair Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) board, taking over from Shukri Barmadi. He did not last long on the key job.
Uhuru revoked his appointment only after six months in unclear circumstances.
Since then, fortunes have dramatically changed for the self-styled “crocodile-eater.”
His arrest on Tuesday at a Nairobi hotel marked the lowest level the former Garsen MP has sunk to.
He now shuttles between court corridors fighting bankruptcy cases. Mungatana is also involved in fraud-related cases for which he was charged in court.
On Tuesday, Mungatana was arrested by detectives from Kilimani Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) together with Collins Paul Waweru for the offence of obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and making of a false document.
They had obtained Sh1 million by pretending they were in a position to help a businessman secure a non-existent Sh70 million tender, purportedly to supply cereals and building materials.
“The two with others who are still at large were arrested after their victim presented to a security agency tender documents purported to have originated from them but were found to be fake after scrutiny,” the DCI said.
The complainant told detectives that she had already parted with Sh1 million, and was called to a Nairobi hotel to be introduced to a “senior person” helping push the alleged business opportunity.
When she arrived at the hotel, accompanied by two other ladies, they were introduced to Mungatana as the senior person helping them secure the tender at the Department of Defence.
They, however, became suspicious when they demanded a further Sh1 million.
Already, the lady had been given documents she believed to be genuine and sanctioned from DoD.
She then alerted the Military Police who in turn alerted the DCI detectives.
“It is at this point that the ladies got suspicious and informed the Military Police personnel who in turn requested for our action.
Officers rushed to the scene and arrested Mungatana and Collins Waweru,” a police report read.
A man who introduced himself as a senior military official from DoD headquarters gave out the tender documents, with a promise to help her secure the tender.
“The said person requested to be given a down payment of Sh1 million and which was handed over to him on July 14, 2020,” the DCI.
But he has also fallen victim to fraudsters. In 2018, he lost Sh76 million to “wash wash” conmen from West Africa who had promised to multiply his money and make him a billionaire.
Last year, he was arrested by detectives from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detectives over alleged theft of Sh51.5 million from the Kilifi County offices.
Mungatana and six other suspects were accused of using a company belonging to another businesswoman as a conduit to illegally receive funds from the Kilifi County government.
EACC said they had forged a Local Purchase Order (LPO) belonging to Kilifi County government to ask for payments. EACC established that none of the goods paid for were delivered.
Bank note scandal
In 2018, he was also linked to a fake bank note scandal after detectives raided an apartment in Westlands and arrested three people, including two foreigners.
However, though his name featured prominently in the scam, Mungatana claimed he was innocent as he had been scammed himself by the fraudsters.
Earlier in November 2014, Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula sued Mungatana over a Sh12 million “friendly loan” that he had allegedly failed to pay.
In a suit filed against Mungatana, Wetangula has said that he gave the loan on the strength of an oral agreement with the former MP and assistant minister.
However, Mungatana had refused to pay the debt.
Wetang’ula has told the court that sometime in 2010, he gave Sh12 million as a friendly loan to Mungatana, who at the time had told him that he had a pressing issue. The matter was later settled out of court.
The Alliance High School and University of Nairobi alumnus was married to Violet Wairimu Mungatana who died in March last year while undergoing treatment.
Wairimu was partner at Mungatana and Company Advocates in Mombasa.