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Agency says MP didn’t do any business to get Sh200m

BUSINESS NEWS
By Paul Ogemba | March 9th 2021

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua claims he has acquired his wealth from clean business deals. He has, however, failed to table evidence to prove this. [File, Standard]

A state agency has stepped up its bid to have Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua forfeit more than Sh200 million suspected to be proceeds of crime.

An investigator with the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) yesterday filed a fresh affidavit detailing that the MP schemed with his business associates to acquire the money from various state agencies through money laundering and corrupt practices.

Fredrick Musyoki, in his replying affidavit to claims by the MP that he was being targeted because of his political inclination, swore that there was no linkage between the investigations and politics, maintaining that they were only interested in the wealth Gachagua acquired "illegally".

“Having analysed his business accounts, I realised that there is a pattern in which payments to his accounts was made, which does not depict the existence of any lawful or reasonable business as he claims, but is a reflection of a complex money-laundering scheme,” said Mr Musyoki.

ARA, in its suit against Gachagua filed last year, alleged that his accounts conducted a series of huge suspicious debit transactions amounting to Sh7.3 billion and a total credit of Sh12.5 billion between 2013 and 2020, which they believe were proceeds of crime.

Out of the huge bank transactions, the agency claimed the MP and his business associates could not explain how they acquired a total Sh202 million, which should be forfeited to the State.

But in his response to the suit last month, the MP claimed he was being persecuted for being a close ally of Deputy President William Ruto, and that his wealth had nothing to do with money laundering.

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He denied dealing with any government entity to acquire his billions of shillings, saying his wealth was acquired through hard work and genuine business deals.

But Musyoki, in the affidavit to counter the MP’s claims, said the disputed funds were proceeds of crime obtained through deceit and unlawful means.

“He has not tendered any shred of evidence to show any legitimate means he used to obtain the money. There is no evidence of the existence of verifiable businesses he presented to prove he genuinely acquired the money,” swore Musyoki.

According to the investigator, Gachagua lied that he was holding the money in the trust of other entities, stating that the claims are fictitious since no deed of trustee instruments were presented and that the claims were only a decoy meant to disguise the source of his funds.

Gachagua, in his response, had indicated that he was acting as a trustee of several companies listed as beneficiaries of his wealth, but Musyoki swore that there were no board meetings and resolutions reached by the said companies to appoint him as trustee.

Musyoki said his analysis of the companies associated with the MP showed they had not filed minutes of their meetings between 2013 and 2020 and that there was no resolution from any of them to appoint Gachagua as a trustee.

“I also discovered that he misused vulnerable youths and duped them into being conduits of money laundering to siphon funds from various government departments for his own benefit,” said Musyoki.

He added that although Gachagua had claimed that some money in his accounts were loans, he had presented no evidence to back up the claims, making the agency to believe they are proceeds of crime.

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