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No money was lost at the airport, say police

BUSINESS
By | April 16th 2011

By Standard Reporter

No money has been reported lost in an alleged incident at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport last Monday, the police have said.

Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe said that the police had only received a report on the loss of a bag containing an I-Pad, two mobile phones, a data processor, and other accessories.

He was reacting to a story in Friday’s paper - The Standard, under the headline ‘ICC suspect loses Sh840m at JKIA’.

And Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, though he was not named in the article, reacted through a strongly worded press statement by his Director of Communication Munyori Buku.

Uhuru termed the story "an atrocious falsehood and part of a wider conspiracy to discredit" him, saying he had only lost a bag, which was reported to Kenya Airways and the police.

"His assistant left one of his bags on the plane on Monday morning when they arrived in Nairobi. All his bags had been subjected to normal security screening and scanning in Amsterdam.

"When the assistant went back to look for it, it was missing… the contents were detailed to the police and they are still tracing this bag," said the statement.

Uhuru said he had instructed his lawyers to take immediate legal action against The Standard for publishing the article. He also asked the police to investigate "the very serious crimes that are committed by anyone who makes such serious false accusations".

The Finance Minister said carrying such amount of cash was in contravention of many laws and was a serious crime, "the most serious being money laundering, which legislation the DPM was instrumental in having passed".

In its response, through a statement issued by Deputy Chairman & Chief Strategist Paul Melly, the Standard Group said the article did not name Uhuru, neither was it part of any conspiracy to undermine the person of Uhuru nor prejudice his case.

The Group stated that the report was not actuated by any malice on the part of The Standard newspaper but was based on sources that the newspaper deemed credible and believed to be in the know. However, in retrospect and in its own way of reviewing editorial content, the newspaper had earlier Friday determined that the weight and magnitude of the sum in question would make it impracticable to be carried by anyone as hand luggage bearing in mind the weight and limitations imposed on foreign currency regulations.

The Group said investigations were under way to determine how the internal and quality control systems failed.

Friday evening, the Criminal Investigations Department contacted the Group seeking information on the matter. Meanwhile, Eldoret North MP William Ruto dismissed the report on the loss of the money.

"It does not make sense. Such an amount cannot be carried in hand luggage," said Ruto.

He said what was lost, and is in the police records, is a bag, which had a laptop computer.

"There was no money lost," Ruto told The Standard On Saturday at his Karen home in Nairobi.

Ruto said the origin of the report could be a ploy by some people to make the ‘Ocampo Six’ look bad.

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