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Francis Mureithi, three others caught up in Sh300m military contract scam

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Francis Mureithi who in 2017 General Campaigns gave Embakasi East MP Babu Owino a run for his money while running on Jubilee ticket has been caught up in Sh300m military contract scam.

Directorate of Criminal Investigations, DCI, is investigating Francis Mureithi in a suspected fake military tender scheme in which Haile Menkerios, a former senior United Nations official, is said to have lost at least Sh300 million.

The detectives are also investigating three other people for their role in the fraud in which Mr Haile Menkerios, a retired Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of UN office of the African Union in Addis Ababa, was made to believe that he had won lucrative Ministry of Defence tenders.

According to reports, fake documents presented to police cover five tenders for the supply of millions of jute bags to the Ministry of Defence, construction of a weighbridge at the Export Processing Zone in Athi River and supply of jute bags to cash-strapped Mumias Sugar Company in Kakamega County.

The fraud, said to have taken place between April 2015 and 2017, was masked in a layer of companies through which hundreds of millions of shillings was thought to have been shifted across several bank accounts, a source familiar with the investigation told a local media house.

To make matters worse, a number of government institutions that were asked to verify the authenticity of the documents used by the suspected fraudsters have confirmed that they are fake.

It is said that the well-connected and protected Mureithi has not moved an nch to the several summons by the investigative officers.

In his statement to Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) detectives, Mr Menkerios – who is an Ethiopian – said an Eritrean woman with Kenyan residency, Abeba Weldehaimanot, told him in April 2015 that she knew a reputable young Kenyan businessman with contracts to supply jute bags to the military but needed financiers.

Ms Weldehaimanot is said to have introduced him to a Mr Hussein Osman – another Eritrean – who said the tenders were genuine and that the retired diplomat would make crazy profits.

The two, together with a Mr Francis Mwaura, are believed to have involved Mr Mureithi at that stage, with the politician supposedly providing the necessary tender details to Mr Menkerios .

A contract between Mr Menkerios and Doc Find Company Ltd was then drafted in which it was agreed that the former UN official release $235,000 (Sh23.5 million) to Ms Weldehaimanot.

Investigators say the money was then transferred to Doc Find Company Ltd.

For this transaction, the retired diplomat was promised a $23,500 profit immediately the goods were delivered.

But Mr Menkerios said in the statement he gave police that as he waited for the profit on his investment, he was informed that another lucrative tender to supply more jute bags had been floated by the government.

Mr Menkerios was told he needed to finance that tender as well.

Together with the profits from the previous deal, the amount would be used to service the new tender. He was asked to top-up with $360,000.

Investigators believe Ms Weldehaimanot, Mr Osman and Mr Mwaura introduced Wina Trading Company Ltd into the scheme without the knowledge of the retired diplomat.

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