Why Ruto is yet to be grilled over assassination claims

Deputy President William Ruto with Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria during an informal meeting with governors, the leadership of Parliament, CRA and Controller of Budget at his Karen office, Nairobi , yesterday. [DPPS]
Deputy President William Ruto has insisted that only the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti can take his statement over an alleged assassination plot, sources have said.

Mr Kinoti is said to have assigned the head of Economic Crime Unit Michael Sang to lead the investigation into the alleged plot designed to scuttle Dr Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid that has sucked in three Cabinet secretaries.

Officials aware of the probe, however, say Superintendent Sang was unable to meet Ruto on Monday, with other reports indicating that the investigator had been told to ask his boss to talk to the DP.

“(Sang) was kept waiting for the better part of Monday afternoon in vain. We are still waiting for the way forward,” said an informed officer who asked not to be named.

Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai is said to have reached out to Ruto on Monday, explaining why it was important to have his statement taken, as it was the basis of the probe.

But highly placed sources said the DP insisted that only Kinoti could interview him.

At his level, the DCI assigns those to handle various cases based on their experience and expertise. Sang, a seasoned detective, is a former Head of Investigations at the Capital Markets Authority. 

Declined to record statement

Those close to Kinoti feel the DP may use the occasion to dress him down on how he has handled past investigations, especially the Arror and Kimwarer dams scandal.

Ruto has in the past publicly criticised Kinoti over the issue.

The standoff has reportedly stalled the investigation that has shaken the Jubilee government to the core after three CSs were on Monday summoned to the DCI following the claims of a plot against the DP. 

Cabinet Secretaries Peter Munya (Trade), Joseph Mucheru (ICT) and Sicily Kariuki (Health) reported to the DCI but declined to record statements until a substantive complaint was made in writing. Mr Munya said the detectives informed them that Ruto had complained about their activities and that they were shown a letter that had been circulating, and which purported to detail the alleged conspiracy against the DP.

“The standard procedure is that if someone makes an allegation of that nature, he is required by law to record a statement. The deputy president has not recorded any statement,” Munya said on Monday.

“We have made it clear that at no time have we ever met anywhere – not just in La Mada, anywhere else – to plan to kill the deputy president or any other person for that matter,” Munya added.

He said they were asked, specifically, about a May 14 meeting at the hotel located off Thika Road, but he confirmed that they had held a series of meetings to address grievances by leaders about Mt Kenya being short-changed in development.  

“There is nothing sinister or unusual for people from a particular region of this country to discuss their affairs,” the CS said, adding that the meetings were a follow-up to a retreat by the region’s leaders in Naivasha.

According to Munya, a subsequent meeting was convened in Nyeri, where the MPs presented their complaints to Uhuru.

“In that meeting, the President instructed me to coordinate and get issues from the MPs and then coordinate the side of government so that I could be able to channel those issues to the relevant ministers, PSs and heads of parastatals,” Munya explained.

The group was supposed to meet yesterday at La Mada.

But Ruto’s side yesterday insisted that the DCI should put to task those who attended the La Mada meeting to produce minutes of the same.

“Let Kinoti go to the hotel and review the CCTV footage of those who attended. He should also demand to see the minutes of the meeting and ask why the meetings were being held in the basement,” an aide of the DP said.

Yet another official close to Ruto claimed they had an audio of what was discussed. He said the DP would consider giving his statement towards the end of the probe.  

Hit a snag

However, the investigation appeared to have hit a snag, until Ruto records a statement, even after it emerged that the President had demanded that the detectives get to the bottom of the matter.

The claims have divided the Executive, given the fact that the accusations were made by the DP. 

Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, a close ally of the DP, posted on social media what portrayed the president as a man who was not in charge.

“We are officially on autopilot!” read one of the tweets by Murkomen, which was posted on Monday night as debate raged on the veracity of the assassination claims.

“We must change course or perish!” Murkomen responded minutes later to lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, who had tweeted: “We have a national UNANIMITY that all isn’t too well in the REPUBLIC.”

The storm was started by the DP when he approached the President and informed him he had been told some members of the Executive had held a meeting in Nairobi allegedly to plot his assassination.

This was also captured in a letter claimed to be addressed to the President detailing those who were present at the meeting and the alleged agenda.

Police are also keen to establish the origin of the letter that many believe was forged to trigger the saga.

“Many believe the letter was intentionally authored by people who knew what they wanted,” said another detective.

After the President was informed of the development, he called a meeting with his security bosses at State House, Nairobi on Saturday.

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Hit a snag(DCIGeorge KinotiAssassination plotEconomic Crime UnitMichael SangDeputy President William Ruto