The currently visible split in the ruling Jubilee Party widened yesterday after detectives re-opened investigations into a case in which Deputy President William Ruto was accused of defrauding a government agency of Sh272 million.
The Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has already lined up several individuals for questioning about the saga.
Already questioned are various officials from Celtic Multisystems Ltd, Somog Ltd, Priority Ltd and Berke Commercial Agencies.
The fresh investigations have started almost nine years after Ruto and his co-accused were acquitted of charges of defrauding the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) through the sale of ungazetted Ngong Forest land.
Lawyer Katwa Kigen confirmed yesterday that he had appeared before Chief Inspector Patrick Maloba of the Land Fraud Unit at the DCI headquarters on Kiambu Road on behalf of the firms.
“I appeared before the detective on Monday,” Kigen said, adding that whatever the police were looking for had already been canvassed during the criminal trial in which Ruto was acquitted.
According to Kigen, while acquitting the suspects, the court had established that the prosecution could not prove that they had received money from KPC as alleged. Kigen had represented Ruto during the criminal trial.
Those involved in the fresh round of investigations, however, indicate that the courts did not bring out details on who was paid hundreds of millions.
“It’s a matter of following the money trail. From KPC, whose account received the money? Establish the actual beneficiaries. It’s as simple as that,” a source privy to the investigation said
According to the old case, Ruto allegedly received Sh96 million of the Sh272 million as “facilitation fee” at various intervals during the transaction.
Ruto was initially charged in 2004 together with four others with defrauding KPC of more than Sh272 million over a plot excised from Ngong Forest but failed to take a plea.
In June 2013, the High Court in a different land case ordered Deputy President William Ruto to surrender a 100-acre farm in the Rift Valley and pay compensation to a farmer ( internally displaced person} who had accused him of grabbing the parcel during the 2007-08 post-election violence.
Justice Rose Ougo ordered the then Eldoret North MP to vacate the farm and pay compensation of Sh5.8 million shillings to Adrian Muteshi, 70, the rightful owner, who had accused Ruto of evicting his farm workers during the poll violence.
Ruto had argued that the land had been legally transferred from Muteshi to a third party, Dorothy Yator, from whom he said he had bought the property, but judge Ougo ruled that he had acquired it fraudulently.