Revealed: Amount Governor Waititu received as ‘kickback’

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020 12:00 |
Impeached Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu at the Milimani Law Courts yesterday. The Senate debates his impeachment today. Photo/PD/CHARLES MATHAI

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is now seeking orders to recover Sh25 million which impeached Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu allegedly received as a kickback from a shadowy contractor. 

The anti-graft agency claim the governor, who is facing corruption-related charges, received the money from Testimony Company Limited.

EACC also wants to recover from the firm directors—Charles Chege and his wife Beth Wangeci—Sh147 million paid to them by the county government for a road project tender.

“We urge the court to declare that the contract dated March 16, 2018 between Testimony and the County Government of Kiambu for the upgrading of various gravel roads was founded on illegalities and procurement irregularities and is therefore, null and void,” says EACC.

The development comes even as the embattled governor awaits to know his fate today when the Senate holds a special sitting to debate his impeachment. 

Waititu, who is currently barred from office by the court over the graft charges he faces alongside his wife and some county officials, was impeached last month by the Kiambu County Assembly for alleged abuse of office and gross misconduct

Special sitting

The special sitting was convened by the speaker of the senate Ken Lusaka through a special gazette notice  published on Friday, January 10.

Lusaka said the decision to convene a Special Sitting was arrived on the request of House Leader of Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, who mobilised support of the requisite number of senators for the sitting.

In its fresh application to court, EACC has detailed how Waititu abused his office by directly influencing the procurement process to have Testimony awarded a tender.

He received a benefit of Sh25,624,500 as kickback from the company, the anti-graft agency says.    

 Earlier yesterday, Waititu suffered another blow after the anti-corruption court rejected his application to adjourn a case where he and his wife Susan Njeri have been charged with defrauding the county Sh588 million through fraudulent tenders.

Waititu, through lawyer Gitobu Imanyara, had sought  to have the case adjourned for 17 days to allow him attend the Senate impeachment trial, whose outcome could make or political career.

“My preparing to appear before the senate Tuesday following his impeachment late last year,” said the lawyer.

Milimani trial magistrate Thomas Nzioki said the governor failed to produce evidence that the Senate had summoned him to appear before the House.

“The prayers sought by the applicant fails as he has substantially proved the matter,” he ruled.

The magistrate, however, allowed an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions to push the case to February 6 to await the outcome of an application by 14 Kiambu MCAs seeking to be enjoined in the criminal proceedings as interested parties. 

Upgrade roads

The MCAS want to be part of the proceedings, “to watch how the embezzlement case is conducted on behalf of the people of Kiambu.”

On tenders awarded to Testimony Ltd, EACC says the firm was contracted to upgrade various gravel roads to bituminous surface in Thika, Limuru, Gatundu North, Juja and Ruiru sub-counties, tenders which detectives claim were awarded even before the company opened a bank account.

Detectives established that the firm opened an account with Equity Bank on March 27, 18 days after it signed for the tender, casting doubts about the past existence of the firm.

Further, the EACC after probing the statements established that on various dates, the firm which was paid the money irregularly paid a cumulative amount of Sh25.4 million to Saika Two Estate Developers, where Waititu and his daughter, who have also been questioned, are directors.

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