Former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu has defended his wealth, saying he can account for every coin and all properties registered in his name.
In response to a suit by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to recover his assets worth Sh1.9 billion, the ex-governor gave an account of how he made his millions which he denies were acquired through corruption.
“The case against me is merely hot air which does not demonstrate the corruption they allege I was engaged in. It is nothing more than judicial persecution against me to coerce me to drop my political support for Deputy President William Ruto,” Waititu said.
The former county boss said the EACC underestimated his value by failing to do the correct calculations of his businesses which surpasses the Sh1.9 billion the commission had indicated.
Employed as accountant
Waititu said he started making his millions after being employed as an accountant by the Ministry of Finance in 1989. Claims by the EACC that he acquired the wealth during his time as Kabete MP and Kiambu governor are false, he said.
The former governor said a year after he was employed as an accountant, he bought his first lorry in 1990 and started the business of supplying building materials with his wife Susan Wangari Ndung’u.
As the business was doing well, Waititu said he resigned in 1993 and by 1998, he had a fleet of 10 lorries and expanded the business to the excavation of building sites in Nairobi.
“In 1999, I was awarded a contract worth millions of shillings by the then Nairobi City Council for collection and transportation of garbage to Dandora dumping site. I did this business until 2011 while continuing with other businesses.”
Buoyed by the increase in his revenue, Waititu said they decided to register several companies between 1999 and 2011 including Dosoil Enterprises, Ndung’u Waititu Ltd, Bulk Refuse Removal, Bins Management Ltd and Saika Two Estate Developers which he used to acquire other properties.
He said as his wealth continued to expand, he constructed two petrol stations in Njiru shopping centre and Kayole Junction while his wife opened a hardware shop and a beauty products wholesale shop.
“In 2011, we acquired 22 acres which we subdivided into 311 plots and sold. I had a lot of wealth even before I was elected Kabete MP, including petrol stations, hardware and beauty shops, landed properties and several fleets of transportation lorries.”
He added that even when he was elected Kiambu governor in 2017, he continued with his businesses which collected more than Sh300 million every month.
Waititu admitted that he owns the properties listed by EACC as having been acquired through proceeds of corruption, but stated that he acquired them through disposing of some of his properties and loans from banks.
According to Waititu he acquired Jamii Bora Bank building in 2017 at a cost of Sh200 million and Delta Hotel building in 2018 at a cost of Sh380 million through loans supplemented by his savings. “I can give sufficient explanation to all my properties acquired during the period I was an MP and governor. The EACC was just in a hurry to file the suit without giving me a chance to explain myself.”
EACC is seeking to recover the properties totalling Sh1.9 billion from Waititu, his wife and their three companies; Saika Two Estate Developers Limited, Bienvenue Delta Hotel and Bins Management Services Limited.
The properties include Jamii Bora Bank building, Solar House in Nairobi Central Business District, a building along Biashara street, a house in Runda estate, seven vehicles and a tractor, cash in bank accounts and several pieces of land in Nairobi, Kiambu, Machakos and Kajiado counties.
The commission said Waititu used his political position as MP and governor for private gain by involving himself in a complex corruption chain. According to the anti-graft body, Waititu’s legitimate income for the period he served as MP and governor amounted to Sh160 million comprising of salary (Sh29.5 million), rental income (Sh81 million) and bank loans totalling Sh44 million.
At the same time, High Court Judge Esther Maina allowed Equity Bank to be enjoined in the case as an interested party. The bank had in its application said Waititu borrowed Sh200 million to buy Delta Hotel, which he has not repaid and they also want to recover.
“It is not in doubt that the bank has a legitimate interest in the case and their input will help the court in making a determination of the dispute,” Justice Maina said.
She directed that the case be heard on October 6.