Gachagua protests against judge, to appeal ruling to forfeit Sh200M to the State
UDA deputy presidential candidate Rigathi Gachagua has protested the handling of his case where the High Court has ordered Sh200 million in his account be taken over by the government. In a statement just hours after the ruling, the Mathira MP said that he has instructed his lawyers to immediately file an appeal in the Court of Appeal to stay the orders and set aside the judgment.
“The judgment today by Justice Esther Maina, in my case against the Asset Recovery Agency, did not come as a surprise to me and my Lawyers. The Judge was biased against us from the word go and threw caution to the wind by conducting a sham trial. Against the rules of evidence, she refused our application to cross-examine the investigator in order to test the veracity of his allegations,” Gachagua said.
He added that the judge had ruled that all evidence should be through affidavits and rejected oral evidence. He further claims that the judge refused his request to call witnesses to testify on how he got the money. According to Gachagua, the ruling has been made relying solely on the allegations by the State.
“The Judge again declined our request to highlight our submissions against the known and accepted practice all over the world. The judgment was hastily rushed ten days before the elections in a futile attempt to undermine my candidature in the coming elections and dent my sterling performance in the running mates debate last week,” Gachagua said.
In a ruling on Thursday, Judge Esther Maina said that the lawmaker has failed to explain how he acquired the wealth from government agencies. She ordered that Gachagua must forfeit Sh200 million, which is already frozen, to the State
In 2020, the High Court froze Sh200 million belonging to Gachagua pending a petition by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) for the money to be forfeited to the government. ARA said that the funds are suspected to be proceeds of crime because they are payments to companies associated with Gachagua and which emanated from government agencies.
The agency claimed that Gachagua and his company, Jenne Enterprises Limited, were involved in a suspected complex scheme of money laundering. During the recent deputy presidential debate, Gachagua claimed that the money was genuinely acquired through various tenders.
However, the court said that there was nothing to show he had any contract with the State. It noted that Gachagua only produced a letter dated February 9, 2015, indicating Wamunyoro Investments Ltd had been awarded a tender. It also dismissed claims by Gachagua that the money was held in a fixed deposit account.
The money is held in accounts at Rafiki Bank – three of which are in Gachagua’s name. The three hold Sh165 million, Sh35 million, and Sh773,228. A fourth account, holding Sh1,138,142, is registered in the name of Jenne Enterprises.