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Four Kenyans freed from prison in South Sudan arrive home

By Standard Reporter | Published Thu, December 7th 2017 at 00:00, Updated December 6th 2017 at 22:25 GMT +3
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir when he paid him a courtesy call in Juba, South Sudan on Wednesday. The two leaders discussed the state of Kenyan prisoners in South Sudan among other issues. [Picture: courtesy]

In summary

  • Baringo Senator Moi said to have played key role in securing their freedom
  • They were in a group that included 12 people jailed for fraud and money laundering

Four Kenyans who had been jailed for life in South Sudan arrived back home last evening after more than two years in prison in Juba.

There was no official communication by the Government about their arrival and how their release was secured.

But sources said Boniface Chuma, Ravi Ghaghda, Anthony Keya, and Anthony Wazome arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 5.30pm aboard Kenya Airways Flight KQ 353.

An official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed their arrival but said he was not aware of their destination.

Top government officials led by Foreign Affairs PS Monica Juma were reportedly at the airport. Sources said the four were whisked away in unmarked cars.  President Uhuru Kenyatta met South Sudan President Salva Kiir, who attended his inauguration at Kasarani last month. The two leaders are believed to have discussed the matter.

Securing release

Sources said Baringo Senator Gideon Moi played a key role in securing the release of the four. Gideon met President Kiir in October in Juba and brought up the matter.

Gideon had pleaded with President Kiir to release the Kenyans.

The four were in a group including 12 South Sudan nationals who were cumulatively jailed for 67 years for fraud and money laundering.

They were convicted of fraudulently acquiring $14 million (Sh1.4 billion) belonging to the office of President Kiir.

They were caught up in a case involving their boss, John Agou, who worked as a senior security officer in Kiir’s office. Agou was accused of forging documents bearing the president’s signature to secure financial approvals from the country’s central bank.

Their families had piled pressure on the Kenyan Government to secure the release of their loved ones who were imprisoned in 2015.

On Tuesday, Juma flew to Juba, fuelling speculation they had been freed but the Government denied the reports.

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