NAIROBI - A Kenyan court has ordered vice presidential nominee Rigathi Gachagua to repay 202 million shillings ($1.7 million) which it determined were the proceeds of corruption, local media reported on Thursday.
High Court Judge Esther Maina ruled the money came from government agencies but there was no evidence that Gachagua had supplied any goods or services, the Business Daily newspaper reported.
Reuters was unable to obtain court documents for the ruling.
Gachugua said the judgement was intended to undermine his candidacy in the Aug. 9 election on presidential candidate William Ruto's ticket.
"The judge was biased against us from the word go and threw caution to the wind by conducting a sham trial," he wrote on Twitter.
Gachagua said he has instructed his lawyers to appeal, claiming Maina had refused his lawyers' bid to challenge the evidence brought against him.
Ruto is the deputy president under current President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has denounced Ruto's candidacy and backed veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga instead. Ruto and Odinga, the favourites on the ballot, have both pledged to stamp out corruption if elected.
Gachagua's accounts were frozen in 2020 following a request by the government's Asset Recovery Agency.
Gachagua, a first-time lawmaker and former government administrator, told a campaign meeting in late June that if elected, he will unfreeze the cash and build a rural home to host his supporters for entertainment sessions over roasted meat and porridge.
($1 = 118.7000 Kenyan shillings)
(Reporting by Humphrey Malalo, George Obulutsa and Duncan Miriri; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Hereward Holland and Josie Kao)