Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe has admitted he was a bank guarantor for a firm implicated in the Sh7.8 billion Kemsa scandal.
This he did in an affidavit submitted to the Public Investments Committee, the Jubilee party Vice-chairman said he guaranteed Kilig Ltd.
He however denies being a director, shareholder, or beneficial owner of Kilig in the affidavit. Murathe had previously vehemently denied association with the firm.
Kilig was awarded a lucrative Sh4 billion tender to supply 450,000 personal protective equipment to Kemsa, just two months after registration.
It was not pre-qualified to tender by the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency.
Murathe says in the affidavit he was requested by Kilig – then under the directorship of Wilbroad Gachoka and a Chinese national Zhu Jinping – to guarantee payments to a Chinese firm trading as ENTEC Ltd.
Entec was the supplier of the PPE kits and Murathe was to guarantee that the company would be paid upon Kemsa effecting payments to Kilig.
PIC members led by chairman and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir said it can be concluded that Murathe was engaged by the firm to influence the award and the payments.
Entec director Chen Chao told the committee that he got into the deal having known that Murathe “is a respectable high-standing member of society in Kenya”.
“I requested Murathe to be a guarantor for this transaction by being a mandatory signatory together with me in the Kilig account at Equity Bank,” Chao submitted.
MPs Tom Kajwang’ (Ruaraka), Julius Melly (Tinderet), Rashid Kassim (Wajir East), and Joshua Kandie (Baringo Central) said the revelations put Murathe on the spot in the matter.
Kajwang’ said: “It seems Murathe was brought to influence the process. His role was to make sure that this thing was paid.”
“We need him here in person because Kenyans want to see this big fish who can influence payments of this magnitude.
We are dealing with issues to do with conspiracies…it may well be that someone is not a principal offender but is a conspirator or abetted the crime.”
In his defense, Murathe said he was aware that Kilig engaged Entec which had the kits for the supply in order to fulfill the tender requirements.
“Kilig and Entec only requested me to be a signatory to Kilig’s bank account to guarantee that Entec would be paid on completion of the procurement process and I obliged,” the affidavit reads in part.
Initially, Murathe said he was not involved – in any way, in the multi-billion shillings tender awarded to the then two-month-old firm.
“Gachoka is my friend and business partner. I have known him since childhood. I partner with him on a lot of issues but I have not partnered with him on this one (Kemsa tender),” he said.
Kilig is among nine companies whose directors EACC has recommended their prosecution.
At the height of the scandal, Deputy President William Ruto said the suspects would have long been charged had they carried the tag “Ruto allies.”
“The perpetrators of this heist are lucky they do not carry the tag “Ruto allies”, otherwise they would have taken political responsibility, stepped aside, written statements, companies investigated, individuals arrested and hauled to court,” Ruto said in August last year.
Just Who is Murathe
He is said to be President Uhuru Kenyatta’s, Total Man.
Murathe started politics as a radical student leader. In 1982 following the failed coup, he was jailed together with other students. He was jailed again when he was falsely accused of being part of “Mwakenya”, an anti-Moi movement.
A few years later he started working with Uhuru and joined him in Kanu. In 2002, he lost his Gatanga seat, and his boss lost in his first stab at the presidency.
Murathe was appointed chairman of the Uhuru Kenyatta (UK) Centre. Its sole purpose was to get Uhuru elected president. In 2013 he brought Ruto and Uhuru together. This was an alliance that initially seemed doomed and stillborn.
The combination of Ruto and Uhuru brought together the best numbers and served to ensure that peace would return to the Rift Valley, which was burning. Uhuru was initially against the promised alliance but was convinced. Murathe played a major role in convincing Uhuru.
After Uhuru’s victory, many people expected Murathe to get a major post, perhaps a Cabinet position, but he chose to stay out of government. “I need to do some business and I don’t want to be constrained by being in government.
He speaks bluntly, sometimes to a point of rudeness, but with such disarming charm that even when he is telling off his political enemies.
Murathe has friends across the government and can, and will, use the levers of the State when needed to accomplish his goals. You can always see Murathe’s hand when major political events happen.