Ex-Governor Mwangi wa Iria freed on Sh10m cash bail in graft case

Former Murang'a Governor Mwangi Wairia (left), David Maina Njeri (center), and Solomon Mutura Kimani at a Milimani court [Collins Kweyu]

Former Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria has pleaded not guilty to nine counts of corruption, in case he is linked to the Sh140m procurement fraud. 

The former county boss was released on Sh10 million cash bail or Sh20 million bond and a surety of a similar amount. 

Alongside two co-accused, David Maina and Solomon Mutura, wa Iria faced charges at the Milimani Anti-Corruption Court on Tuesday, April 30, denying any involvement in tenders awarded to Top Image Consultants, a firm closely associated with him. 

Investigations revealed that the former county boss authorised a procurement process between Top Image Media Consultant and the Murang’a County Government for media buying and publicity, without the required recommendation for the award by the tender committee, and the mandated competition as per law.

According to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), a report was received indicating that the Murang’a County Government irregularly awarded tenders for media and publicity to the said firm, totaling Sh562 million during the Financial years 2014/2015 and 2015/2016. 

The directors of these companies, Jane Wanjiru Mbuthia and David Maina Njeri, were identified as close associates of the Governor.

It is alleged that wa Iria directly benefited from the funds, with some of the payments made to the consultant company being used to settle his loans and deposited into his account. 

Further, his spouse, Jane Waigwe Kimani, his brother-in-law Solomon Mutura, and directors of Value View Limited, also benefited from funds paid to Top Image Media Consultant through various purchases and deposits.

In its ruling, the court imposed a stringent bail ruling against Mwangi wa Iria, setting a cash bail of Sh10m and a Sh20m bond. 

Meanwhile, the co-accused, David Maina and Solomon Mutura were granted bail options of either a Sh5 million bond or one surety of similar amount, or a cash bail of Sh1 million, and a Sh7 million bond or Sh4 million, respectively.

Additionally, travel restrictions were imposed on all accused, barring them from leaving the country, and parties involved were prohibited from contacting any witnesses related to the case.

Other accused persons in this case include Patrick Kagumo, Former County Secretary and Current County Commissioner, Peter Muturi Karanja, Personal Assistant to the former Governor, Jane Wanjiru Mbuthia, Director, of Top Image Media Consultants Ltd, and Value View Limited.