Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua suffered a major blow after a judge dismissed his application to cross-examine an investigator who uncovered suspicious transactions in his accounts totalling Sh19 billion.
High Court Judge Esther Maina ruled the MP has not demonstrated any special circumstances that would warrant the court to summon the investigating officer attached to the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) to be cross-examined by his lawyers.
“There is no basis to call the investigating officer to be cross-examined because whether he is called or not, that will not change what he has already submitted in his affidavit,” ruled Maina.
The state agency is pursuing Gachagua to recover Sh202 million stashed in his bank accounts on allegations that the money was part of the billions of shillings he acquired through money laundering and corrupt practices.
According to ARA, Gachagua’s three personal 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 associate Anne Kimemia, trading as Jenne Enterprises Ltd, cannot explain how they acquired the Sh202 million which should be forfeited to the state.
One of the accounts registered in Gachagua’s name at Rafiki Micro Finance Bank has Sh165 million, the second account also at Rafiki Micro Finance Bank has Sh35 million, the third account has Sh773,228 while the fourth account under the name of Jenne Enterprises has Sh1.1 million.
The agency submitted that the MP, while trading under different companies, received millions of shillings from different state agencies and hurriedly transferred them to other entities and personal bank accounts to conceal the source.
But the outspoken legislator filed the application to be allowed to cross-examine ARA investigator Fredrick Musyoki on account that his affidavit has damning evidence that can only be proved if he is put on the dock for grilling.
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Through lawyer Kioko Kilukumi, Gachagua argued that the claims of money laundering raised against him are so grave and damning that they can only be proved if the investigator is put on task to prove them.
“We want him summoned to court so we have a chance to verify if what he swore in the affidavit is true. The allegations are so weighty and cannot just be determined by way of affidavit evidence without subjecting the investigator to cross-examination,” said Kilukumi.
Lawyer Mohammed Adow, representing the state agency, however, told the court that the request to summon the investigator was a plot by Gachagua to delay the hearing and determination of the case.
Adow submitted that all the evidence they have filed in court only showed how Gachagua allegedly siphoned money from different government agencies to his personal accounts which do not require cross-examination of the investigator.
“There is no need to call a witness for cross-examination when parties have filed detailed affidavits and evidence to support their case. It is a tactic they are trying to employ to delay the case and should not be entertained by the court,” said Adow.
Justice Maina upheld the submissions by ARA and directed Gachagua to file his submissions in response to the suit seeking to have him forfeit the money to the state within three weeks.