Ex-Nyandarua governor Waithaka, 5 others have case to answer in graft case
The Anti-Corruption Court in Nyandarua has ruled that former Nyandarua Governor Daniel Waithaka Mwangi and five top county officials have a case to answer in connection with a Ksh.50 million graft case filed in 2018.
The country officials who served in the first term of the devolved government are Grace Wanjiru Gitonga, Martin Igecha Kamami, John Ngigi Daniel, Jesse Wachira Mwangi, and Simon Irungu.
Also implicated in the procurement scandal are two foreigners Chen Yochanan and Albert Attias, directors of an Israeli firm Tahal Consulting Engineers who were used as conduits to facilitate the fraud.
The hearing of the case has been ongoing since 2018 when the accused persons were charged following investigations by EACC and the concurrence of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
“I have looked at the evidence, gone through submissions and in my view I find that the State established substantial evidence in their respective charges therefore they have a case to answer,” ruled Senior Principal Magistrate Judith Wanjala on Friday.
County water master plan
The Governor and the County Officials engaged M/S TAHAL Consulting Engineers Limited, to develop a County Water Master Plan and to design the Ol Kalou Town Sewerage System without following the procurement laws and regulations.
They directly procured without obtaining prior written consent from the Nyandarua County Tender Committee.
Investigations revealed that at the time of entering into a contract with the County Government of Nyandarua, Tahal Consulting Engineers Limited, did not have a local subsidiary, as such disowned the two purported directors.
In the contract, it was provided that, TAHAL Consulting Engineers Limited was to source for billions of funds from Israel to execute the water in the entire Nyandarua after completion of consultancy services
The county paid Ksh.23,895,513 as an advance payment and a subsequent sum of Ksh.26,575,000 for services never rendered.
The payments were wired via RTGS to a bank account in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Efforts by the Commission to pursue the money in Israel hit a brick wall, since Kenya and Israel do not have Mutual Legal Assistance arrangements.
The officials have been charged with three counts of wilful failure to comply with the law relating to procurement contrary to Section 45 (2) (b) of ACECA 2003, and one count of Abuse of Office Contrary to Section 46 as read with section 48 (1) of ACECA, 2003.
Simon Ngigi Daniel and Jessse Wachira Mwangi, were charged with wilful failure to comply with the law relating to procurement contrary to Section 45 (2) (b) of ACECA 2003.
Charges against Tahal Consulting Engineers Limited, and its purported directors were however dropped because they could not be traced and their existence could not be established.
The case will be mentioned on 17th March 2023 when the parties will take dates for the defense hearing.
If found guilty, the accused persons face long-term sentences, including refunding the Government, over KShs 100 Million, which is two times the amount of money lost in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003.