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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru faces arrest days after joining UDA

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Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, who recently defected to Deputy President William Ruto’s camp on Tuesday, faces arrest as early as next week.

Detectives were finalising investigations into corruption allegations at the county government.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has concluded investigations into the planned payment of millions of shillings for a dubious land survey tender by the Kirinyaga County government and payment of questionable allowances to the governor and county officials.

Waiguru is likely to be charged alongside county Chief Finance Officer Mugo Ndathi, Kirinyaga County Assembly Speaker Anthony Gathumbi, Leader of Majority James Murango and chairman of the Budget Committee at the county assembly David Mathenge.

Coincidentally, they all accompanied Waiguru to Ruto’s Karen residence to officially defect to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) on Tuesday.

Waiguru has previously accused the EACC and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) of engaging in selective prosecution targeting the DP’s allies allegedly due to their political affiliation, allegations the two agencies have repeatedly dismissed.

The EACC has since recommended the arrest and prosecution of Waiguru, Ndathi, Gathumbi, Murango and Mathenge for their role in the alleged scandal.

They are expected to answer to charges of conspiracy to commit an economic crime, abuse of office, false accounting, deception and forgery.

Addressing the press after a session with detectives, Waiguru described the summons as “ill-timed, politically instigated and have nothing to do with the purported investigations on misappropriation of funds”.

She maintained that while the county assembly had allocated Sh52 million “to offset the outstanding amount and secure release of the survey maps and completing of the titling process” and the matter deliberated and approved by the county executive due to public interest, “no shilling has been paid and, therefore, no monies have been lost”.

“It is now obvious EACC is being used to intimidate us to remain silent even when our political careers are on the line and our supporters tell us otherwise,” she said in a three-page statement.

She further claimed at the time that she and county officials had so far received 250 summons from EACC.

The anti-graft agency says Waiguru received Sh10 million as travel imprest for non-existent trips.

During the period, she is reported to have travelled to the United States, United Kingdom, France, Morocco, India, Germany and Abu Dhabi, trips which the EACC says never took place despite the governor and county officials pocketing approximately Sh20.9 million in allowances.

Only about Sh12 million of this amount was accounted for, according to the detectives. 

In the purported trips, EACC says, there were no letters of invitation, the purpose of the trips was unknown, no approved work plans, no itinerary, not all trips had letters of appointment or nominations or authority to travel outside the country, and that the imprests were neither surrendered nor supported by payment vouchers and boarding passes. There were also no back-to-office reports.

The issue of the trips was part of the charges which were levelled against the governor by MCAs during the successful impeachment motion filed at the county assembly last year, which was, however, overturned by the Senate citing insufficient grounds.

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