Dennis Itumbi, a social media expert who operates from Deputy President William Ruto’s office now claims he has video evidence of the controversial La Mada hotel meeting which is at the centre of investigations on an alleged plot to eliminate the country’s second in command.
When he appeared in court on Thursday afternoon, Itumbi told Senior Resident Magistrate Zainabu Abdul that he was ready to present the video in court, but was not allowed.
Itumbi was represented in court by a team of lawyers led by Katwa Kigen but requested to be allowed to make a personal submission, before the magistrate ruled on an application by the prosecution for police to detain him for two weeks to complete an investigation after he was linked to a fake letter alluding to a plot to eliminate Ruto, a plan that is said to have been discussed at the La Mada hotel.
The controversial blogger, who used to work as a State House Digital Director before he fell out of favour with President Uhuru Kenyatta and moved to the DP’s office, told the court that investigators wanted him to admit that he authored the said letter and posted it on a WhatsApp group.
In the affidavit filed in court on Thursday by a detective Yvonne Anyango from the Serious Crimes Unit of the DCI, it emerged police are also investigating a movement known as Tanga Tanga that is associated with the Deputy President, and which has 256 members on the said WhatsApp chat group.
Itumbi is one of the members in the group that also has prominent leaders, lawyers, journalists and bloggers loyal to Ruto.
Police have arrested a member of the group identified in court as Samuel.
“That subsequent to the arrest, of the said Samuel, and brief perusal of one of the recovered mobile phones, a WhatsApp group by the name Tangatanga Movement was found,” the detective said.
“That the said WhatsApp group was created on July 8, 2018 and has 256 members and I and my team of investigators are currently in the process of summoning all the members,” she added.
Itumbi was arrested on Wednesday as part of an investigation on a fake letter alleging a plot to eliminate the Deputy President.
He claims he declined to admit and instead told the DCI that he has a video recorded at La Mada hotel – where the alleged plot to assassinate Ruto was reportedly hatched –and which he wanted played in camera before the magistrate.
Itumbi said that the video has all those who attended the meeting together with what each individual said at the meeting.
The court declined to grant the prosecution’s request of 14 days, but instead ordered him detained at the Muthaiga Police Station, Nairobi for 5 more days. He is due back in court on Wednesday.
Days after the letter was circulated online, in late June, Cabinet Secretaries Peter Munya (Trade), Sicily Kariuki (Health) and Joe Mucheru (ICT) and 20 other government officials were summoned to the DCI headquarters to record statements following claims that they had attended a meeting at La Mada hotel in Nairobi, to plan the alleged plot.
They all denied the claims, and insisted they can only write statements once the key complainant—DP Ruto—files a formal complaint on the matter.
Officials at the DCI Headquarters said they acted on instructions from State House to launch the probe, after the DP reportedly complained to the Head of State that government officials who attended the La Mada meeting had discussed about his assassination—a claim Munya and the two other Cabinet Secretaries described as ridiculous.
When he was arraigned on Thursday morning, Itumbi’s team of lawyers comprising
Kigen, Moses Chelanga and Gitonga Muragara, told the court that the application by DCI seeking detention of their client was a ‘big joke.’
They told the magistrate that Itumbi has no capacity to influence MPs, Governors, members of the Senate and others associated with the 256-member WhatsApp chat room who are due to be questioned over the letter alluding to an assassination plot against Ruto.
“These are people who are spread over the country and they include MPs, Senators and other professional group it is a total lie that the investigators can record their statement within a period of 14 days,” they said.
The lawyers submitted that police had already taken Itumbi’s mobile phone for cyber-crime analysis; hence a request for custody by police was unmerited.
The court was also told that investigators have not recorded statements from him or any other persons in regard to the said letter.
“Itumbi is ready and willing to cooperate with the police to ensure they get his side of the story,” his defense said.
Police however, say Itumbi has been uncooperative, even declining to record a statement or be interrogated.
“From the time of the arrest, the Respondent was duly informed the reason for his arrest as being making a false document without authority contrary to section 357 of the Penal Code,” the affidavit states.
It was categorical that “brief evidence so far gathered and credible intelligence so far received show that the Respondent (Itumbi) and his/her associates participated in making the purported letter.”
Itumbi denies authoring the letter.
Via Capital News
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