Former governor worth Sh9 billion including his Muthaiga home, Gem Suites in Riverside Drive, Muthaiga Heights…but there’s that small matter of slain lawyer Steven Kariuki
By Pascal Owade
Hot on the heels of an imminent divorce, former Nairobi governor Dr Evans Kidero’s corruption charges could spiral into a murder investigation.
Dr Susan Mboya-Kidero long filed to divorce Kidero whose traceable wealth has been pegged at Sh9 billion.
Despite flowers every Friday and serving her tea, Susan called it quits over what those in the know term as ‘irreconcilable differences’ six years after they wed at the All Saints Cathedral, dinner at Laico Regency hotel.
Besides the divorce, Kidero is also facing Sh58 million corruption charges in which he personally trousered Sh14 million. Detectives have since linked the chain of deceit and blatant theft as possible motive for the murder of city lawyer Steven Kariuki Mburu two years ago. The case almost went cold.
Kidero’s corruption charges were opened in 2018, the year Kariuki was lured to his death on a fake business mission in Oloitoktok town, Kajiado County where he was allegedly poisoned.
‘Unexplained wealth not commensurate with Kidero’s known legitimate sources of income’
Kariuki’s law firm disbursed the Sh58 million paid out for fictitious legal services. Sleuths have since linked the money trail to Kariuki’s murder as he would have been a key witness in the graft case.
Detectives from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission also dug in on Kidero’s assets valued at Sh9 billion-the bulk of it, “unexplained wealth not commensurate with his known legitimate sources of income.”
Besides over 10 top of the range vehicles, they listed 50 rental apartments along Riara road worth Sh1 billion, Muthaiga Heights also valued at Sh1 billion besides the Sh1 billion Gem Suites along Riverside Drive-where jomo Gecaga, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Personal Assistant forked out Sh30 million rent over six years. That is just one tenant. One of Kidero’s account at Family Bank has over Sh300 million.
Susan went to court arguing she was not an ‘extension of his property,’ that she was wealthy before she met Kidero
Investigators tried roping in Dr Susan Mboya to ascertain whether she too benefited from Kidero’s quid, but she went to court arguing she was not an ‘extension of his property;’ that she was wealthy before she met Kidero. But the Court of Appeal recently gave a nod to probe whether she “acquired her wealth in concert with Kidero.”
Susan, a corporate executive and daughter of independence hero Tom Mboya, has shielded their divorce from the public gallery.
Susan knew Kidero as a family friend as “my late mother regarded him as a son. He was always someone I looked upon as a friend but I did not know him very well.”
They only began talking in 2010 after Susan lost her mother and reached out to Kidero who advised: “You can either be a small fish in a big pond or you can come back home and do something big.”
Though a bit older, Susan realized they had a lot in common despite having never looked at him in romantic slants
Susan was then General Manager for Coca Cola in South Africa-where Kidero flew for their first date. “We went to a restaurant and just talked a great deal because we had both gone through a lot in the preceding 12 months.”
She added: “People usually see him as very powerful, very business-like…he has quite a sensitive side and that’s not what you expect. You expect this hard-nosed businessman.”
Though a bit older, Susan realized they had a lot in common despite having never looked at him in romantic slants.
“Both of us had a lot at stake and at that age you don’t get married because you need to, you get married because you feel that you have a lot in common.”
The engagement ring was bought in Sandton City, Jo’burg where Kidero went on bended knee and proposed. Susan, taken in by his softer side, married him in an intimate ceremony in 2011; two years after Kidero lost first wife, Abigael, mother of his son to an illness. But their marriage went south in 2017, the year he lost the Nairobi governor’s seat.
Kariuki’s wife, Hannah Kariuki pocketed Sh5.6 million and has been lined up as a witness
And now Kariuki’s murder could be tied to the Sh58 million corruption case in which perpetrators shared out the loot as follows: Kidero (Sh14 million), former Mayor of Nairobi John Ndirangu (Sh17 million), filthy rich former city councilor Mutunga Mutungi (Sh8.5 million), Kidero’s former Chief of Staff George Wainaina and his son John Wainaina (Sh1 million), Kariuki’s wife Hannah Kariuki (Sh5.6 million).
The above comes to Sh41.2 million, leaving Sh16. 8 million hanging. Oduma Owuor, then acting director of Legal Affairs at City Hall but now Nyakach MP, was instrumental in the payments. But it’s not clear how much he pocketed alongside assorted accountants and internal auditors at City Hall-where Kariuki was paid Sh10 million in 2011-before Kidero became governor, bringing the total fraud to Sh68 million.