Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, failed to appear for the mention of his Ksh7.4 billion graft case following the death of his elder brother.
His lawyer Gibson Kimani informed Anti-Corruption Court magistrate Victor Wakumile that the deceased, James Reriani Gachagua, is being buried today.
The advocate tendered a copy of the burial permit and the death and funeral advertisement to explain the absence of Rigathi Gachagua, who is also the running mate of Deputy President William Ruto in the forthcoming elections.
"My client is bereaved. He lost his brother and the burial is scheduled to happen today. He is absent in court, "lawyer Kimani said.
The court admitted the explanation and directed advocates and prosecution to prepare for the hearing which is expected to kick off on September 5.
The prosecution through State Counsel Willy Momanyi confirmed it has fully furnished the defence with the documentary evidence and will be calling 44 witnesses to testify on the matter.
The court told the prosecution that no further evidence will be admitted in the matter except what they have since shared with the defence.
Wakumile took over Gachagua's case from today after the former trial magistrate Rose Makungu was allocated other court administrative duties in another division.
In the case, Gachagua has denied six counts of corruption-related charges around Ksh7.4 billion.
According to the prosecution, the MP is alleged to have fraudulently acquired Ksh7.4 billion in proceeds of crime between the years 2013 and 2020 through business dealings with the government.
The six counts facing the MP include conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, fraudulent acquisition of public property, conflict of interest, money laundering and acquisition of proceeds of crime.
Others also charged are Mathira CDF manager William Mwangi Wahome, Ann Nduta Ruo, Jullianne Jahenda Makaa and Samuel Murimi Ireri.
Others are Grace Wambui Kariuki, Lawrence Kimaru, Irene Wambui Ndigiriri, David Reuben Nyangi Nguru and Rapid Medical Supplies Ltd.
The nine, together with Gachagua, are jointly charged with conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption by defrauding Nyeri County Government of Ksh 27.4 million purportedly for the supply of dialysis machines to Nyeri Provincial General Hospital.
The prosecution says that the accused persons committed the offence between May 2015 and December 2016.
Nguru, Rapid Medical Supplies Ltd and the MP faced a separate charge of fraudulent acquisition of public property. Chief magistrate Lawrence Mugambi heard that on December 29, 2014, they received Ksh6 million from the Nyeri county government being part of the payment for the supply of the dialysis machines.
On the acquisition charge, the State claims that between 2013 and 2020, the MP fraudulently acquired Ksh 7.4 billion through his three bank accounts.