EACC denies going after Ferdinand Waititu for backing Ruto

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu leaves EACC offices in Nairobi on May 28, 2019. [David Njaaga, Standard]

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has denied claims by former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu that he is being persecuted for supporting President William Ruto.

The commission has instead insisted that the former governor, his wife and their companies cannot explain their wealth worth Sh1.9 billion, which should be forfeited to the State for being proceeds of corruption.

“His claims that our investigation was a political witch-hunt owing to his affiliation to the president are not true, untenable, misconceived and incongruous. The huge cash deposits in his account and the assets acquired within a short period are sufficient evidence of corruption,” said EACC.

The commission through lawyer Jacky Kibogy argued that they have demonstrated that between 2015 and 2020, Waititu amassed assets that are disproportionate to his legitimate income and has not explained how he acquired the wealth even after being given a chance to do so.

EACC also denied claims that they did wrong computation of Waititu’s unexplained wealth, stating that they took consideration of his salaries, legitimate businesses and loans before coming to the conclusion that the remaining assets worth Sh1.9 billion were corruptly acquired.

In response to the ex-governor’s wife Susan Wangari that their wealth was from many businesses across the country, the commission stated that she has not provided any evidence to prove she genuinely acquired the wealth.

“We did everything including inviting her to explain the sources of her assets but she did not offer any satisfactory explanation which left us with no option but to file the application to force them forfeit the proceeds to the state,” said Kibogy.

The commission also defended claims that they illegally obtained bank transaction of Waititu and his companies, stating that the law allows them to use any means to obtain information and documents from a person suspected of corruption. EACC in the main suit is seeking to recover the properties totaling 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 CBD, 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 argued that Waititu used his political position as MP and governor for private gain by involving himself in a complex graft chain with contractors to embezzle public funds.

But Waititu in his response says he can account for all his wealth to prove they were not acquired through corruption.

According to him, he started making his millions after being employed as an accountant by the Ministry of Finance and ventured into a business of supplying building materials. He said his breakthrough came in 1999 when he was awarded a contract worth millions of shillings by the Nairobi City Council for collection of garbage.