Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga yesterday opened up on the fake gold scam, claiming he was the one who outed the cons to the Dubai-based complainants.
Speaking for the first time since his name was dropped in a video clip that went viral, Raila absolved the other person mentioned in the clip -- Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i -- describing him a victim of a witch-hunt.
At the Kisii burial of Dr David Ombati, the African Special Envoy on Infrastructure Development, said he flushed out the cons himself through a meeting with the conned businessmen.
“I was the whistle-blower in the fake gold syndicate when I discovered some people were using senior government officials’ names to con businessmen,” he said.
“I told the businessmen that whoever they were told would clear their gold was not Matiang’i after I was handed over a phone after one of them said he had spoken to Matiang’i. I clearly identified the voice on the other end as being of a different person altogether,” said Raila.
Dr Ombati was Jaramogo Oginga Odinga’s doctor.
He revealed that the fake Matiang’i’s role was to clear the gold which was to leave the country through Wajir airport. He claimed he knew the real Matiang’i since the time he worked in his office when he served as a Prime Minister.
Raila also alluded that the video in which his name and Matiang’i’s were dropped might have been fake.
“Matiang’i is as white as cotton and we will not allow anybody to taint his name or the image of any hardworking government officer. Those faking video clips or voices should be ready to face the law,” said Raila without elaborating.
Before yesterday, Raila had maintained a studious silence on the matter as it turned political and threatened to implode the remaining strands of Jubilee unity.
A day after the video leaked, Deputy President William Ruto linked the scam to Raila’s political camp, claiming they had thrived in false promises before. His allies however directly attacked Matiang’i and asked him to quit.
With talk of move to impeach Matiang’i swirling in the air, and Raila as well as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s names being roped in through the video, Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji urged caution in the debate.
Yesterday, Raila said he will not retract his decision to support the fight against corruption, unite Kenyans and ensure economic stability.
The ODM leader said he had agreed to work with President Kenyatta for the betterment of the country and that they will not be part of the 2022 political shenanigans as they were busy setting pace for a great Kenya.
Senator Sam Ongeri called on the Gusii community to reciprocate by rewarding Raila the good he done to Kenyans by supporting him and following the political direction he will show them in 2022.
“He is still young politically and nothing will stop him from ascending to power. Raila is the reason we are enjoying relative peace in the country and we are going to stand by him by all means,” said Ongeri.
The Senator said he will be among the first people to defend Matiang’i in the war against counterfeits in the country and that those fighting him should know that he has the support of his Gusii community.
“We are yet to see this fake gold, this is a war being created to fight the hardworking Matiang’i who has vowed to uphold the rule of law,” said Ongeri.
He said the country should be ready for a referendum which will help foster unity and ensure that the country does not experience political turmoil like in 2007.
Demand for respect
Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka castigated Deputy President William Ruto’s in roads in Kisii, saying the community was ripe to have their own in leadership and that he must respect them.
“We all know that Raila didn’t lose in the last elections, his victory was stolen. Ruto should stop abusing Raila, they are not agemates,” said Onyonka.
He said the recent move to impeach Matiang’i was ill advised and that all elected leaders from the community are ready to stand by their hardworking son who has shown he has the ability to lead the country in future.