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How Ruto’s ally, Mary Mungai, stole Sh665m from Parliament

A company associated with Deputy President William Ruto's business partner Mary Wambui Mungai 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) have revealed irregularities including violating procurement laws involving the company, Nightingale Enterprises Limited (NEL), directors, State and Equity Bank officials.
The DCI has recommended that 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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