Christopher Wray
Caption for the landscape image:

Why FBI boss Christopher Wray was in Nairobi

Scroll down to read the article

 Federal Bureau of Investigations Director Christopher Wray and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission  Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak in Nairobi on June 12, 2024.

Photo credit: Roselyne Obala | Nation Media Group

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is assisting Kenya in investigating some high-profile corruption and money laundering cases, even as Kenyan authorities acknowledged a spike in gold scams popularly known as wash wash.  

Efforts to strengthen Kenya’s fight against transnational organised crime including money laundering, terrorism, illegal drugs trade and human trafficking featured during discussions between security chiefs and visiting FBI director Christopher Wray.

Mr Wray separately met with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss Mohammed Amin, National Intelligence Service (NIS) director Noordin Haji, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Renson Igonga at their respective offices.

The FBI boss, who had been in the country for the last five days, also visited Dusit D2 complex, where terrorists killed 22 people during an attack on January 16, 2019, as well as toured other malls and the Nairobi National Park.

Mr Wray revealed that there are corruption cases that the FBI is pursuing, without disclosing the specifics, adding they are looking forward to collaborating more with the DCI on that “important front.”


“Because corruption strikes at the heart of the rule of law and erodes public confidence in their institutions and governments,” he explained, adding investigating money laundering to trace ill-gotten wealth and nail a web of suspects orchestrating the vice has been FBI’s mission for years.  

Mr Wray cited corruption among the most important threats his agency is investigating.

Mohammed Amin

DCI Director Mohammed Amin (left) and FBI Director Christopher at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on June 12, 2024.

Photo credit: Roselyne Obala | Nation Media Group

 “Typically by its very nature, corruption involves individuals who are powerful and wealthy and the most important way to demonstrate to the citizens in any free society that they can have trust in their institutions is to have agencies like FBI and DCI investigating those offences,” Mr Wray added.

Mr Amin said corruption is a transnational crime and a serious threat to the stability of the state.

 “It is an existential threat and as a country, we have taken deliberate steps to ensure that all cases of corruption, regardless of the persons or entities involved, are expeditiously investigated and prosecuted. We have so far investigated a couple and we are continuing with investigations and so many of them are at various levels of investigations,” he stated.

 Mr Amin disclosed the country has witnessed a spike in cases involving gold scams and acknowledged the FBI’s assistance in tracing off-shore accounts where the ill-gotten cash is stashed.

  “Indeed it is true, the country has witnessed a spike in terms of gold scamming mainly from the mineral producing countries and they use Kenya as the transit hub,” the DCI boss said.

 “These fraudsters do collaborate with some rogue lawyers and open escrow accounts where again the monies are immediately withdrawn from those accounts,” Mr Amin explained.

 According to Mr Amin, detectives have been closing in on the activities of gold scammers in Kenya, prompting some to relocate to some neighbouring countries.

 “We have had successful prosecutions, out of a total of 71 reported cases, we were able to identify, arrest and prosecute 64 people, some Kenyans and others are foreigners,” he explained.

  “In our investigations, I must confess that the FBI has been able to assist us and we were able to collaborate with them in particular the aspect of social media investigations, intelligence sharing as well as recovery of proceeds of crime,” Mr Amin disclosed.

Christopher Wray

Federal Bureau of Investigations Director Christopher Wray at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters on June 12, 2024.

Photo credit: Roselyne Obala | Nation Media Group

On the back of speculation that the FBI chief’s unpublicised mission was on the hunt for specific individuals under the repatriation agreement, Mr Wray explained his visit was to strengthen partnerships with Kenyan investigative agencies.

“We have a great partner in Kenya and that is why we are here to enhance our partnership. Part of the mission is to push for the strengthening of our cooperation,” Mr Wray told journalists at the DCI headquarters during a press briefing alongside Mr Amin.

He explained: “Kenya’s cooperation with the FBI is outstanding and it's the big reason for my visit to thank the DCI and other agencies that we work with in the Kenyan government.”

Tackling global threats

The FBI boss lauded the cordial working relations between his agency and those in Kenya which has led to successes in tackling global threats like narcotics trade, corruption, and human trafficking, especially of children, among others, through the launch of the Joint Terrorism Taskforce (JTTF) in Kenya, the only one in the region.

“Human trafficking is one of the worst kinds of threats we tackle as it often impacts on vulnerable members of our community, children,” Mr Wray stated.

At the Integrity Centre, Mr Wray and Mr Mbarak deliberated on areas of training and technical support in the fight against corruption.

Christopher Wray

 Federal Bureau of Investigations Director Christopher Wray.

Photo credit: Roselyne Obala | Nation Media Group

Mr Mbarak noted that the FBI training has benefited the institution in various specialised areas like training on undercover operations, tradecraft and modern techniques in investigation of complex financial, and economic crimes, corruption cases and recovery of corruptly acquired wealth.

In the closed-door meeting, the FBI pledged to support EACC through training and acquisition of modern investigative tools and equipment.

The meeting also explored ways of leveraging on exchange of information to support tracing and recovery of corruptly acquired assets stashed abroad.

“The FBI will continue to look for ways to strengthen our partnership and support EACC efforts to safeguard the rule of law and ensure public confidence in institutions,” Mr Wray affirmed.