Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua will spend the weekend in custody after detectives arrested him from his home yesterday, grilled him for hours and later locked him up at Gigiri Police Station.
The officers read to him five counts they plan to charge him with on Monday.
The MP was denied bond and locked up after spending close to six hours at Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters where he had been taken after being arrested in Nyeri.
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According to his lawyer Wahome Gikonyo, Rigathi is being accused of attempting to defraud the Nyeri County Government of Sh27 million as well as conspiring to defraud the county of Sh6 million.
The third count is money-laundering. He is alleged to have laundered Sh112 million from the Bungoma County Government. The fourth charge is laundering Sh7 billion deposited in his fixed account.
He is also accused of conflict of interest involving Sh800 million from Mathira NG-CDF.
“All these charges are false and fabricated. If he is alleged to have conspired to commit the crimes with other conspirators, where are they? Who are they? Why have they not been arrested?” posed Gikonyo.
Like a group of MPs who turned up at the DCI headquarters demanding Rigathi’s unconditional release, the lawyer read political mischief in the arrest of his client.
“It is suspicious that the charges are coming so soon after the Kiambaa by-election. What have they been doing for the last two years.
“My client has never worked in the county governments of Nyeri, Bungoma or at the Mathira CDF. They want to keep him until Monday so that they can charge him,” said Gikonyo.
The MP was first taken to Mazingira House at around 9.30am and spent several hours before the charges were read to him. He was then taken to Gigiri Police Station at 3.30pm.
According to his colleagues, detectives had not prepared the charges when they arrested him.
“The investigators have just drafted the trumped up charges, which have been read to him. They insist they have orders from above that Gachagua must spend the weekend in police cells,” said Uasin Gishu Woman Rep Gladys Shollei.
Shollei, Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata and Bomet Senator Christopher Langat accompanied Rigathi’s lawyers when the legislator was being questioned.
Both Kang’ata and Langat accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of using State machinery to intimidate United Democratic Alliance (UDA)-leaning politicians, wondering why the same zeal is not applied to those who stole Covid-19 and National Youth Service (NYS) funds.
“We will not be intimidated; we will continue to fight for UDA’s cause. This government has only one year left to fix the economy that has collapsed,” said Kang’ata.
Earlier, several legislators led by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah, claimed they saw this coming after UDA defeated Jubilee candidate in the Kiambaa by-election.
Ichung’wah sensationally claimed a scheme has been hatched to eliminate, through accidents and poisoning, politicians supporting Deputy President William Ruto. He claimed more UDA leaders will be arrested.
According to him, he is among those targeted for arrest alongside Gatundu MP Moses Kuria and Ruto campaign strategist Dennis Itumbi. He accused DCI boss George Kinoti of being used to harass them.
“These are last kicks of a dying horse; whether you like it or not, you will not intimidate Kenyans using State machinery. That era of intimidation is long gone,” said Ichung’wah.
Accompanying him were Nyeri Woman Rep Rahab Mukami, Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, MPs Nelson Koech, Victor Mayaka, Jane Kihara, Cecily Mbarire and Hilary Kosgei.