Sh3.5 million robbery claims thrust Tharaka Nithi Deputy Governor into public limelight

Tharaka Nithi Deputy Governor Eliud Mati

The recent robbery incident involving Tharaka Nithi Deputy Governor Eliud Mati seems to have lifted the lid on his quiet but controversial life.

For a man rarely in the news, Mr Mati has been subject of a scrutiny by government agencies following claims that he was robbed of Sh3.5 million by his bodyguard at gunpoint. The revelation has thrust the man who rose from a P1 teacher to a PhD holder into the limelight with more allegations coming forth.

In statements to the police, his former bodyguard has given a peek into the life of the deputy governor who is described as an introvert who is generous to his friends.

Josphat Kibiegon, the Administration Police constable who was until early this year Mati’s only bodyguard from 2013 has implicated him in irregularities that have attracted Ethics and Anti Corruption (EACC) detectives to his homes in the last two days.

Kibiegon, in his statement to the police after surrendering himself following the complaint of Sh3.5 million theft, claimed that he has been accompanying the deputy governor to collect kickbacks in various hotels and safely delivering the money to his homes in Meru town and in the village.

According to Kiogora Mugambi, the lawyer who represents Kibiegon alongside three colleagues, the AP has also claimed that Mati asked him to open a mobile money transfer account in which people have been sending bribes.

“The reason that they engineered the breaking into his Tunyai house was because they wanted to remove documents including those of opening the mobile money transfer account," Mugamb said.

When the Standard on Sunday team visited the deputy governor’s home in Tunyai village, the security guard turned us away saying they were under instructions not to allow anyone in.

However, this is not the first time the former lecturer at Meru University is at the centre of a controversy involving large amounts of cash. On August 9, the police reportedly thwarted a planned robbery at his Tunyai home, following claims that there was Sh20 million in gunny sacks.

He has accused a contractor of swindling him of Sh 480,000 and the matter is before Meru Law Courts. People have questioned why the sudden change in his lifestyle and why he carries millions of shillings in cash.

A section of leaders in the county have called on EACC to investigate the deputy governor, saying that county officials have a tendency of pocketing tax payers' money.