Kinoti: Venezuelans not affiliated to IEBC

George Kinoti

Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti. 

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

The Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti has countered the electoral commission’s position on the arrest of three foreigners with electoral materials at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Thursday.

In a detailed report, the DCI dismissed Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chair Wafula Chebukati’s claim that the three Venezuelans are staff of Smartmatic International, a firm contracted by IEBC to run the agency’s technological network during the 2022 General Election.

“The Directorate of Criminal Investigations reiterates that contrary to falsehoods and innuendo peddled by Mr Wafula Chebukati in his press release on July 22, 2022, that the three persons he alleged were arrested, were not personnel or staff working for the commission,” the report reads in part.

Mr Kinoti said that the three were not affiliated to IEBC as they were in the country on a private business trip to meet Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed, a businessman, in Nairobi.

According to the DCI boss, one of the arrested travellers, Jose Gregorio Camargo Castellanos, a Venezuelan national, was in connection with Mr Abdi. The businessman had paid Mr Camargo’s air ticket and he was expected to report to his office after arriving in Nairobi.

Mr Camargo had arrived in the country on Thursday July 21 when he was flagged after being found in possession of election materials.

The materials have since been established to be IEBC stickers for about 10,000 polling stations in 10 counties of Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Nyeri, Meru, Machakos, Murang’a, Bomet, Tharaka Nithi, Nyandarua and Kericho. The eleventh roll was unprinted.

“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 Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed,” the report adds.

Three Venezuelans

Two others Venezuelans, Joel Gustavo Rodriguez and Salvador Javier Suarez, joined the fray. They had come looking for Mr Camargo who was still being integrated by the DCI.

Investigations by the DCI, Mr Kinoti says, revealed that the trio were Mr Abdi’s visitors and a letter they produced indicated that they were to meet the businessman at his office and not at the IEBC offices as Mr Chebukati alluded.

Mr Kinoti also said two of the three suspects, Joel Gustavo Rodriguez and Camargo Castellanos, had flown from Venezuela using expired passports. The passports expired on November 13, 2019, and February 11, 2020, respectively.