Gachagua set free in Ksh7.3b corruption case

Written by on 11 November 2022

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is off the hook in the Sh7.3 billion corruption charges after a court yesterday allowed the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji to withdraw the case.

But Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Victor Wakumile said that Gachagua and his nine co-accused can be re-arrested and charged should the investigators obtain more evidence in the alleged graft and economic crimes offences.

“There being no objection to the substantive application for withdrawal of the case under section 87(a) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), the application is hereby granted. The accused persons are warned and informed that they may be rearrested in future and on the same or similar charges,” said the magistrate while allowing the withdrawal of the case.

DCI faulted

The magistrate noted that the application to withdraw the case by the DPP was arrived at after the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) failed to provide full disclosure of evidence implicating the DP and his co-accused in the corruption charges.

In allowing the DPP’s application, Wakumile said one could not prefer charges in anticipation of getting evidence.

He faulted the investigative bodies for presenting people in court while they were still fishing for evidence.

“The decision to charge must be exercised judiciously, sufficiently, impartially and independently,” the magistrate said.

“As courts of laws, we are no longer passive arbiters of everything and anything that is presented before us for adjudication. Never, in my view, should a judicial system be used as a stopgap measure or a doormat. There is a need to respect institutions.”

The decision by the court came after the DPP cited a lack of evidence in his application and blamed the DCI for the failure to complete investigations before the office recommended the six corruption charges against the accused.

Politically instigated

Haji, through State counsels Grace Murungi and Vera Hamisi, informed the court that he believed that if the case was allowed to go to full trial based on the evidence available, his office would not be able to secure a conviction.

“The DPP independently reviewed the matter and concluded that the evidence, as it is, does not meet the evidential threshold required to mount a successful prosecution of this case,” said Murungi.

Gachagua, through lawyer Kioko Kilukumi, welcomed the decision by the DPP to withdraw the charges against him, while maintaining the stance that the case was politically instigated by the previous government.

“He was subjected to intense humiliation driven at breakneck speed from Nyeri to DCI headquarters. He was never presented to court until July 26, 2021,” Kilukumi stated.

The DP was accused, alongside nine others, of fraudulently obtaining Sh7.3 billion through unscrupulous government operations.

Gachagua was charged with six counts that comprised acquiring proceeds of crime, conspiracy to commit corruption, conflict of interest, money laundering and fraudulent acquisition of public property.

In the case, Gachagua had been charged alongside nine others including Nyeri senator William Wahome Mwangi, Anne Nduta Ruo, Julianne Jahenda Makaa, Samuel Murimi, Grace Wambui Kariuki, Lawrence Kimaru, Irene Wambui Ndigiriri, David Reuben and a company M/s Rapid Medical Supplies.

Crime proceeds

The charge sheet stated that on diverse dates between 2013 and 2020 in Nairobi, Gachagua fraudulently received Sh7,330,011,265 through three bank accounts at Rafiki Micro-Finance bank while knowing that the monies were proceeds of crime.

The court also directed the Sh12 million cash bail Gachagua deposited in court as a condition for his release when he was charged be returned to him.

His passport shall also be returned. The same will apply to all the other accused in the case.

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