Did Chebukati Mislead Kenyans About the True Identity of The Arrested Venezuelan Nationals?  

Mr Wafula Chebukati, Chairman of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IBEC)

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti released an official statement dismissing Mr Chebukati’s position on the three. Mr Kinoti said that after investigations, his department had established that the three were on a private business trip to Kenya and were scheduled to meet businessman Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed and not officials from the IEBC as claimed by Mr Chebukati

 It is clear now that the chairman of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IBEC) wasn’t telling Kenyans the truth concerning the three arrested nationals from the South American country of Venezuela. The three were arrested by security officers at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) last week in possession of IEBC election materials.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti released an official statement dismissing Mr Chebukati’s position on the three. Mr Kinoti said that after investigations, his department had established that the three were on a private business trip to Kenya and were scheduled to meet businessman Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed and not officials from the IEBC as claimed by Mr Chebukati.

Mr Chebukati, two of the three Venezuelan nationals and the stickers

After being evasive and heaping the blame against the airport security team, alleging that the three were ‘key in the management of August 9, 2022, General Election’s technological network.

Mr Chebukati added that the police had detained the three Venezuelans whom he claimed were members of staff of Smartmatic International B.V, a company contracted by the commission to supply and install the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) kits. 

According to the DCI statement, one of the three suspects, Jose Gregorio Camargo Castellanos jetted into the country on the afternoon of Thursday, 21 July; he was the first to be arrested in possession of the IEBC material

However, contrary to Mr Chebukati’s statement, the DCI said the foreigners were not employees of Smartmatic International B.V and that they had travelled to Kenya using expired passports. In part, the statement reads: “The Directorate of Criminal Investigations reiterates that contrary to falsehoods and innuendos peddled by Mr Wafula Chebukati in his press release on July 22, 2022, the three persons he alleges were arrested are not personnel or staff working for Smartmatic International B.V or the IEBC.”

According to the DCI statement, one of the three suspects, Jose Gregorio Camargo Castellanos jetted into the country on the afternoon of Thursday, 21 July; he was the first to be arrested in possession of the IEBC material. Castellanos was intercepted by customs officials after the security team at the airport detected suspicious materials in his bag, when questioned, he was incoherent, Kinoti said.

“He was then requested to open his bag which he obliged; police found 17 rolls of electoral materials belonging to the IEBC, and one of the stickers was blank. The stickers were for various polling stations, they were approximately 10, 000 pieces.

The stickers were destined for: Nairobi (3), Kiambu (2), Nakuru (2, Meru (2, Murang’a (1), Bomet (1), Nyeri (1), Tharaka Nithi (1), Nyandarua (1), Kericho and one unprinted roll,” Kinoti’s statement read in part. In his second bag, police say the suspect had one personal laptop, a monitor; five flash disks and assorted personal computers, which he said were his personal property

The DCI Chief said: “Upon probing the suspect, it emerged that Mr Camargo did not bear any letter or documentation indicating that he had been invited by IEBC and as such the materials in his possession belonged to one Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed.” He said that while still under interrogation, two other Venezuelans: Joel Gustavo Rodriguez and Salvador Javier Suarez came looking for their fellow countryman and further investigations revealed that the three were visiting Mr Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed not IEBC as claimed by the Chairman.

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