A newspaper cutting dated December 25th, 1995 has laid bare Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua’s dirty and brutal past while working as a District Officer (DO) under President Moi.
The story on the Daily Nation, titled ‘DO accused of levying bar tax’ written by Alex Cege, describes how bar owners in Kiambaa division had to contend with a new tax, which was being collected by their local chief and decreed by the area DO, Geofrey Gachagua.
For bar-owners who were unable to pay the tax demanded by DO Gachagua, they had an option of still paying in the form of goats and crates of beer.
”The area DO, Geofrey Gachagua has written to all bar-owners in the division demanding Christmas contributions for himself and his administration’s security team for having kept the peace throughout the year as the bar owners and their patrons drank and made merry,” the newspaper cutting reads in part.
It continues: ” Letters to various bar owners signed by the DO are asking for between Sh 500 and Sh 1000 in cash and up to five crates of beer depending on the size of their establishments.”
Instruction from DO Gachagua demanded area chiefs in Kiambaa division to go around demanding the presents and issuing threats of ”making business impossible” for locals who defied. The report explains, when Gachagua was contacted he admitted to writing the letters but saying the contributions were voluntary.
”We were not asking to be paid for the services provided, we merely asked for contributions to enable us to host a Christmas party for the APs,” the DO told the Nation reporter at that time. When pressed further, Mr. Gachagua failed to explain why he had singled out only bar-owners for the contributions and claimed the exercise had been a tradition in Kiambaa, for the two years he had been working there.
Elected to parliament in 2017, Gachagua currently is a first-term legislator and one of the anti-Uhuru voices in the Mt Kenya region. He has criticized the president’s war on corruption saying it was a political tool being used by the state to crack down on its opponents.
Last month, Gachagua was charged with conspiracy to commit an offense of corruption. It was alleged that he defrauded the County Government of Nyeri Sh27.4 million between May 2015 and December 2016.
The second charge stated that on December 29, 2014, Gachagua fraudulently acquired Sh6 million from Nyeri Provincial General Hospital for the supply of dialysis machines.
He faced two other counts of money laundering. The prosecution alleged that the MP received Sh112 million from Bungoma and Kwale counties and engaged in transactions to conceal the money trail.
The crux of the charges was in count five where the MP was accused of fraudulent acquisition of Sh7.3 billion.
“Between 2013 and 2020, you fraudulently received Sh7,330,011,265 through three bank accounts registered under the name of Rigathi Gachagua domiciled at Rafiki Micro-Finance Bank, while knowing that the money formed part of proceeds of crimes,” reads the charge sheet in part.