War on graft:EACC freezes Wa Iria’s assets in Sh542 million tender probe

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BY KORIR JUMA,NAIROROBI,25TH JAN,2021-The anti-corruption court has frozen assets worth millions of  shillings associated with Muranga Governor Mwangi Wa Iria believed to be proceeds of corruption.

The Ethics and anti-Corruption Commission told the court that Wa Iria and his family received kickbacks from a contract worth Sh542 million, which the commission believes was awarded irregularly.

The commission is planning to file another application seeking to have the assets forfeited to the government at the conclusion of their probe.

The court case may deal a blow to the two-term governor who has declared his interest in running for president in 2022.

Wa Iria is also hoping to succeed Wycliffe Oparanya as Council of Governors chairman having served as the vice chair in the last one year.

In the court case, EACC says Wa Iria influenced the award of Sh542,610,615 media buying tender to Top Image Media Consultants Ltd — a firm the detectives say is owned by the governor’s relatives and associates.

One Jane Mbuthia is listed as the director of the firm.

“It was alleged that Top Image Media Consultants Ltd, a company owned by Wa Iria’s associates/relatives had been irregularly awarded various media buying tenders in the county government of Muranga between the financial years 2014/2015 and 2016/2017 and received a sum of Sh542 million.

“Preliminary investigations have further confirmed that indeed the 1st respondent [Wa Iria] held direct and indirect interest in the contract awarded to the 2nd respondent [Top Image Media Consultants Ltd] as the 2nd respondent would subsequently transfer funds to the Ist respondent,”EACC said  in court papers obtained by the Star.

Reached for a comment, Mbuthia  told the Star that she was not aware of the EACC probe but said her dealings were clean.

“Anything I have done with Murang’a is above board. I do not know what anyone is talking about,” she responded.

Wa Iria did not respond to phone calls.

He however told the Star in a text message, “you cant pretend to talk to me after filing a story to suit your interests.”

However, an aide who did not want to be quoted claimed the governor was being persecuted for throwing his hat in the presidential ring.

“Hii ni fitina. Once you declare you interest in such a big job, you will be fought. The governor is so popular across all the Mt Kenya region,” he stated.

However Wa Iria’s run-in with EACC started long before he declared he would be gunning for the country’s top job.

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