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How Ruto used Mary Wambui to steal billions and wire the loot to Switzerland

By John Kamau, Editor, thingira.org

Details of how Deputy President William Ruto used controversial businesswoman Mary Wambui Mungai alias Wambui wa Ruto (pictured above with Ruto) to steal billions of shillings from taxpayers and then wire the loot to offshore accounts can now be revealed.

Wambui, one of Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) campaigners, has been making frequent trips to Ruto’s Karen residence to strike illicit business deals.

Since 2013 when Jubilee came to power, Wambui has been the conduit through which Ruto has been fleecing government entities and wiring the loot to destinations such as Switzerland, Dubai and Isle of Man.

She has been the conduit through which Ruto has comfortably been transacting business with the government without raising eyebrows.

Wambui is among individuals Ruto mandated to register shell companies that would receive tenders worth billions of shillings from the government and then the funds would be wired to Ruto’s offshore accounts.

One of the companies she registered with her daughter, Purity Njoki Mungai, is Purma Holdings Limited.

 The company was hastily registered after a meeting in Karen at the early days of the Jubilee government.

 It would then start receiving tenders such that it's turnover in the first year was in the tune of billions of shillings.

 There were numerous complaints regarding insufficient supplies by Purma to government entities but a stern call from Ruto to the complaining parties would quell things down.

But after the 2017 General Election numerous government offices complained about Purma, lifting the lid on how the Deputy President had owned over half of all government contracts and tenders.

Purma was also notorious for tax evasion.

Already, Wambui and Njoki face arrest after they failed to appear in court on December 6, to answer charges of not remitting taxes amounting to Sh2.2 billion.

They are to be charged with eight counts of knowingly and unlawfully omitting taxes due in the income tax returns submitted to the Commissioner for Domestic Taxes between 2014-2016.

And as we reported earlier, Wambui has been the front of Ruto in money laundering and sanitising illicit proceeds.

Mid this year there were reports she had fled to Zambia after she was tipped that detectives were closing on her.

Born on December 12, 1963 in Kiambu County, Wambui has been the face of Ruto in nearly all the shady business deals executed by the second in command.

The businesswoman, who was being used by Ruto to bribe voters during the Juja parliamentary by-election to vote for the People’s Empowerment Candidate, George Koimburi, had fled to Zambia weeks after she received summons from the court to answer charges of evading taxes to the tune of Sh2.5 billion.

But she later came back hoping matters had cooled down only to be summoned in court.

She is a director of two companies - Chama Holdings and Purma - which have been doing business with the government since 2013 when the Jubilee regime came into power but were not remitting taxes.

The businesswoman shot to the public limelight when her name featured as a trustee in the Friends of Jubilee Foundation, a lobby group that was fundraising for Uhuruto’s re-election in 2017 General Election.

The trustee consisted of wealthy businessmen, lawyers, bankers, insurance magnates as well as tenderpreneurs.

Wambui came to the public limelight after her two daughters distanced themselves from her two companies accused of evading taxes. 

The two - Evelyn Nyambura and Purity Njoki (now her co-accused) - after getting wind of their possible arrest moved to obtain an anticipatory bail, blocking KRA implicating them in the saga.

According to sources, Purma Holdings Limited supplied boots, uniforms and cereals to the military among other state departments but failed to remit taxes.

According to court papers, KRA said it has been conducting intensive investigations on tax obligations by the company for the past two years after a red flag was raised that Wambui and her two daughters earned billions of shillings between 2014 and 2019. 

They evaded taxes running into billions after supplying boots, uniforms and cereal to the military. Wambui has also been listed among persons who supplied Kemsa KN95 face masks and surgical face masks for a tender worth Sh30.5 million.

She also supplied personal protective equipment (PPE) kits worth Sh90 million. Both awards were made through direct procurement in June last year.

Kemsa has been fighting allegations of purchasing low quality items and inflating prices of others in the procurement of Covid-19 emergency equipment.

Wambui, who together with the Deputy President was putting up a magnificent six-star hotel in Kiambu County, is a person of interest to Kenyans, thanks to the ongoing crackdown on money launderers.

She is said to be among those suspected of having been paid millions of shillings for supplying goods to the National Youth Service (NYS) as well as the military.

Described as an astute businesswoman, Wambui had been a major supplier to the NYS since the Jubilee government came into power in 2013, winning tenders through the backdoor.

She enjoyed the protection of Ruto and that explains why she had never been grilled over the NYS Sh9 billion scandals though sources said those who were arrested and eventually prosecuted had linked her companies to the scam.

Wambui was also adversely mentioned in the grabbing of prime properties particularly in Nairobi.

For her efforts, Ruto had ensured she is well protected by directing police to allocate her several guards from the elite Recce Unit.

According to sources, Wambui’s linkman at the NYS was the Deputy Procurement Officer Koome Vincent Kirigia, who has been processing her payments.

Interestingly, Kirigia was not charged neither grilled over the NYS scam as is believed to have been protected by a close ally of the Deputy President.

Wambui, according to insiders, was being used by Ruto to sanitise the billions of shillings the DP has stolen from public coffers.

For instance when anti-graft sleuths seized close to Sh1 billion in US dollars from Fedha Estate in Embakasi, the name of Wambui featured prominently.

The seized money was suspected to belong to Ruto through proxies such as former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga and they were using the businesswoman to sanitise it.

Recently, we revealed that a company owned by Wambui submitted forged documents, including Equity Bank account statements and fake construction work experience, to the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) but still won a tender worth Sh665 million.

Investigations by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) revealed irregularities including violating procurement laws involving the company, Nightingale Enterprises Limited (NEL), directors, State and Equity Bank officials.
The DCI recommended that Wambui Mungai, Peter Njoroge Muchuku and Isaac Maina Gitura be charged with conspiracy to defraud and fraudulent acquisition of public property among other charges.

PSC has so far paid the company Sh420,923,358, with Sh329 million paid between June last year and April this year. 

Others to be charged are Esther Nyaruai Kabau with acquisition and use of proceeds of crime, Anthony Maingi Chege with forgery, Ruth Waithira Kinyanjui with forgery of the power of Attorney, while Wambui Mungai’s close ally Samuel Kariuki Maina and Equity Banks manager Ambrose Makanga Ngari are to be charged with forgery.

Also sought is US-based Peter Njoroge Muchuku who was a director at NEL at the time of the bidding. Muchuku, a holder of Kenyan passport number A2067657 and American’s PP487585813, is said to have left the country for the US on May 13.

The DCI detectives have obtained some of the payment vouchers, numbers 2043001208 (Sh118,616,479) 2043002032 (Sh37,750,287), 2043001881 (Sh37,362, 763) 2043001913 (Sh28,348,003), 2043002666 (Sh36,627,420) and 2043003563 (Sh70,739,844).

Investigations show that among the latest payments to NEL this year were Sh43,521,716 on June 28 and another Sh47,956,848 on July 5. The two payments were made to Equity Bank’s account number 0010279300185 where Wambui Mungai is the sole signatory.

That bank account was opened in October 2019 following a resolution of the NEL meeting of Boards held on September 27, 2018 with Wambui Mungai solely with the mandate to sign. According to records obtained by the DCI, the meeting was attended by Ruth Waithera Kinyanjui (600 shares), Samuel Kariuki Maina (200 shares), and Mungai (200 shares).

Investigations revealed that at the time NEL was bidding for the tender, their bank account had only Sh2,227.48 and was not supposed to be awarded the tender.

Investigations reveal that the company provided a tender security document dated September 28, 2018, indicating there had a credit line of up to Sh500 million with Equity Bank Limited and that the company’s account number 0010276918 had a balance of Sh250,172,220.

The letter, EBL/CORP/BBG0010276918 and dated October 1, was signed by the bank’s manager Ambrose Makanga Ngari. 

However, on May 1, 2021, the bank wrote to the DCI detectives saying all letters originated from them except the NEL bank account statement 0010279129412 for the period May 1, 2018 to August 23, 2018.

“The Equity Bank account had Sh2,227.48 as at August 13, 2018 and not Sh250 million. The debit/credit and balance columns were edited,” the detectives wrote in their report.

Ngari is one of the suspects to be charged with forgery.

The probe further revealed the company submitted forged documents including a Specific Power of Attorney dated August 24, 2018 that was signed by Wambui Mungai’s daughter Evelyn Nyambura Mungai, Ephantus Githui Gathekia, Peter Njoroge Muchuku and Samuel Kamau Nduati.

Detectives, however, established that Gathekia died on May 2, 2018.

The death incident was reported at Makongeni police station in Thika and could not have signed the power of attorney on August 24, over three months after his death.
Nduati in his statement said he is not related to the NEL and neither were the listed directors known to him. He also proved that the signature appended on the document did not belong to him.

The bidding companies were to demonstrate their experience in the building and construction industry of at least five years.

 “A company that would demonstrate that was to be awarded 15 marks in the following manner; five marks for the number of years, five marks for experience in office fitting and another five marks for evidence of steel and aluminium installation,” the tender documents read.

NEL in the documents claimed it had done several works for Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA), Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) and other works in different county governments. Most of them were found to be fake.

The company, for example, presented a letter dated February 16, 2018 purportedly from KeNHA -tender number KeNHA/ CONTR/007/2015-2016LOT49 and signed by Victor Sinapai.

Investigations however revealed that the letter did not originate from KeNHA and neither was Sinapai the authority’s employee.

NEL had also said they rehabilitated the 32km Khayega-Shinyalu road.

KeRRA however said the tender, KeRRA/14-15/NT/038 was never awarded to NEL.

The authority also said the road in question was only 5.7km and not 32km as claimed by NEL.
Detectives also established that the Masinga-Wendano road in Machakos which NEL claimed had been awarded was actually done by Mutindi General Contractors.

NEL had also indicated they constructed the Buna-Ajawa road in Wajir County.

It was, however, revealed that this was not true and that Hussein Ahmed Ali who signed the award letter was not the county’s Procurement manager.

Other fake projects indicated in the NEL’s tender documents included that of Lake Naivasha Resort, a tender for hotel development and purportedly signed by one Terry Kariiyu.

Investigations also revealed that the development by Ntikya Enterprise tender of February 8, 2018 signed by Waithaka Chege did not take off due to court case LR. No 8480/2765.
It was also established that some of the company’s technical staff have never been employees of NEL. Other projects listed but which the company was never awarded any award included Tana Water Works, rehabilitation of Yatta dam canal, Isiolo Water and Sanitation project among others.

NEL also, as a requirement, presented 14 vehicle and heavy machinery log books but detectives said some of the vehicles belonged to Purma Holdings, Draft and Develop Engineers Ltd while some were co-owned by Realtime Logistics Ltd and various financial institutions.

Mary Wambui is a classic textbook crook who’s mastered the art of fraud. Earlier this year, she was set for arrest over tax evasion.

 The billionaire was pursued by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) over Sh2.5 billion unpaid taxes from big ticket State tenders in agencies like the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) and the military.

The taxman has been pursuing Ms Wambui Mungai over alleged unpaid taxes for the billions of shillings earned from government tenders for supplying boots, uniforms and cereals to the military, among other State departments.

The taxman says Ms Wambui Mungai and her two daughters earned billions of shillings between 2014 and 2019 through their company Purma Holdings Ltd.

The KRA says it has been conducting investigations on tax obligations by the company for the past two years.

The court heard that they have been cooperating and have provided all documents and information demanded by the KRA.

“The commissioner has reason to believe that you, Mary Wambui Mungai, are culpable, connected to or have information that will assist us in our investigations into the identified offences,” says the letter sent to the businesswoman on June 23.

Ms Wambui Mungai has also been listed among persons who supplied Kemsa KN95 face masks and surgical face masks for a tender worth Sh30.5 million.

She also supplied personal protective equipment (PPE) kits worth Sh90 million. Both awards were made through direct procurement in June last year.

Kemsa has been fighting allegations of purchasing low quality items and inflating prices of others in the procurement of Covid-19 emergency equipment.

Ms Wambui is also a close associate of DP Ruto and it’s puzzling how despite her rogue profile, she has been able to bag lucrative deals in government agencies with speculations that she has high end godfather in the hierarchy. 

 


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