Charges against five in Ferdinand Waititu graft case dropped

Former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and his wife Susan Wangari at a Milimani court during the mention of a corruption case facing them. [George Njunge, Standard]

Anti-corruption High Court in Nairobi yesterday terminated charges against five Kiambu County employees who had been charged alongside former governor Ferdinand Waititu in a Sh588 million graft case.

Justice Esther Maina agreed that Zacharia Mbugua, Joyce Ngina, Simon Kang’ethe, Anslem Wanjiku and Samuel Muiga should be let off the hook after finding that they had made a case that they should not be in the graft case before the magistrate's court.

The five who were members of the Tender Evaluation Committee argued that it is unconstitutional and an abuse of the legal process to continue hearing evidence against them.

The case now remains with eight suspects. So far, the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji has presented 27 witnesses.

In a press statement, the DPP stated that he will be appealing Justice Maina’s verdict but will in the meantime continue with case before the lower court.

“The office of the Director of Public Prosecution being dissatisfied with the decision has initiated an appeal in the Court of Appeal against the whole decision and intends to proceed with the case against the other accused persons including Ferdinand Waititu which is still pending before the Chief Magistrates Court at Milimani Anti-corruption division,” said Haji.

Before the magistrate’s court, Waititu, his wife, former County Chief Officer for Roads Luka Mwangi, businessman Charles Chege and his wife Beth Wangeci, are facing charges of money laundering in relation to the irregular award of Sh588 million contracts for road repairs.

Waititu and his wife were accused of receiving a total of Sh51 million through their companies, Saika Two Estate Developers Ltd and Benvenue Delta Hotel, where it was alleged that they engaged in a conflict of interest and dealing with suspect property.

According to the prosecution, the plot to defraud the county government of Kiambu was hatched by Chege and his wife through their company Testimony Enterprises.

The charge sheet stated that the scandal started on February 26, 2018, when Chege and his wife presented false degree certificates to the Kiambu County Tender Committee to prove their company was capable of undertaking road construction work.

It was alleged that on February 26, 2018, they submitted the bid to Kiambu County’s Tender Committee which then allegedly sat on March 5, 2018 and approved the company’s bid without subjecting it to scrutiny.