President William Ruto recently spoke of the existence of a powerful cartel in the civil service that controls government transfers and remains untouchable in their operations.
Without mentioning names, President Ruto singled out a powerful former female official at the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) who had for years dictated her position and workstation.
We have now established that the woman in question was in May 2023 sacked from the transport agency and has had her accounts frozen. The High Court has since frozen the account of Margaret Wanja Muthui alongside other former government officials.
The court froze more than 30 properties and over Sh93 million belonging to the five women and a company, which a state agency suspects are proceeds of crime.
The money in three accounts belong to Esther Wagio Njunge, Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) Procurement Manager Margaret Wanja Muthui and Light House Trading Company Ltd suspected to be proceeds of crime.
The funds include Sh74. 7 million deposited in a fixed deposit account of Wagio at Cooperative Bank, a further Sh13.9 million in the name of Muthui’s account and Sh4.8 million deposited in an account registered in the name of Light House Trading Company Ltd.
Justice James Wakiaga barred the two women and the company from transferring the funds, pending the determination of a case filed by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA).
The judge also barred the two women, the company and three other women from selling or transferring 11 apartments in Kileleshwa, two flats holding 11 units each in Ruaka, a house in Nairobi and a parcel of land in Riruta in Dagoretti sub-county.
“An order of preservation be and is hereby granted prohibiting the Respondents or their employees, agents, servants, or any other persons acting on their behalf from selling, transferring, charging or dealing in any manner with the following apartments erected on L.R NO. 209/21878(Origina1 No. 209/7752), Kileleshwa, Nairobi (Signature Apartments), ” ordered Judge Wakiaga.
According to ARA, most of the apartments were purchased in 2019, when the Central Bank of Kenya announced the demonetization process and unveiled new notes. The apartments were purchased in cash for Sh264 million, on different dates in a period of three months between June and September 2019Other than Wagio and Muthui, some of the apartments are registered in the names of Mercy Wambui Nyambura, Cynthia Wanjiku Nyambura, and Grace Nyambura Ndiritu.
The court directed the rental income, benefit, and profit accruing from the targeted properties to be deposited in the ARA’s Account held at Kenya Commercial Bank, pending the hearing and determination of the intended forfeiture application.
Justice Wakiaga ordered Chief Land Registrar to register caveats against the records of each of the apartments and properties specified in the order.
The women were directed to surrender to the ARA the original land titles documents, leases, or registration documents for the following assets within seven days. In the petition certified as urgent, ARA said investigations revealed that the three accounts had received suspicious funds through a scheme of money laundering which funds are believed to be illicit or proceeds of crime.
It is alleged that Muthui used the illicit money to buy eleven apartments in cash from Ceytun East Africa Limited which were then registered in the names of Light House Trading Company Ltd, Mercy Nyambura and Cynthia Nyambura.
Investigations established that paid a total of Sh264, 500.000 million in cash was for the eleven apartments which were registered under the names Light House Trading Company Ltd, Mercy Nyambura and Cynthia Nyambura in a scheme of concealing ownership.