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NIS now called into probe on DP Ruto assassination claims

By Kamore Maina | July 6th 2019
Dennis Itumbi at Milimani Law Court Nairobi on Thursday, July 04, 2019. Mr Itumbi was arraigned in connection with a letter claiming there was a plot to assassinate the Deputy President William Ruto. [George Njunge/Standard]

The National Intelligent Service (NIS) has now been roped in to help the police with investigations into the alleged assassination of Deputy President William Ruto.

The spies have been embedded with DCI officers from the Cyber Crime Unit.

NIS has been tasked with undertaking background investigations into allegations by Ruto that a group of leaders from Mt Kenya held a meeting where his assassination was discussed.

Missing link

The meeting is said to have been attended by top government officials among them four Cabinet Secretaries and politicians from Central region. The CSs have since denied the allegations.

The incorporation of the NIS into the investigations comes a week after DCI sought help from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to trace the authors of a letter with details of the alleged plot to murder the DP.

“We are hoping that the NIS can now provide us with the missing link as we wait for the FBI to get us the identity of the authors,” said a senior DCI officer who spoke in confidence.

The arrest of Dennis Itumbi, the digital communication director at the DP’s office, continued to generate more questions on the investigations.

Among the issues the police are yet to reveal is whether Itumbi, who investigators accuse of publishing the letter in a WhatsApp group, was also its author. The DCI was hoping to get feedback by last Friday.

Saturday Standard reliably learnt that a report by NIS was used as a basis to arrest Itumbi. Investigators familiar with the matter said the report has details of Itumbi’s mobile phone numbers and a statement from a man only identified as Sam, who the police claim told them that Itumbi posted the letter. 

DCI chief George Kinoti was yesterday not available for comment as he did not answer our calls. 

Sources familiar with the probe also told Saturday Standard that two groups of investigators had been tasked to unravel the whole truth on the alleged assassination plot.

The first group comprises officials from the DCI Cyber Crime Unit. This is the team that the NIS investigators are supposed to back up.

This investigation team is required to track the origin of the letter purported to have been sent to State House with details of the alleged murder plans. The same letter has been circulating on social media platforms.

The police alleged that Itumbi posted the letter in a WhatsApp group called Tangatanga which has 256 members, among them MPs and governors.

DCI, in an application filed in court, said they intend to question members of the group.

By yesterday, no member of the group had appeared to record statements with the DCI, according to sources at its headquarters.

The letter question

Investigations by the Cyber Crime Unit and NIS team led to the arrest of Itumbi. But it remains unclear if the letter was the basis for the complaint by Ruto. The DP is said to have telephoned Kinoti to raise his complaints.

The second team of investigators comprises officers from the Economic Crimes Unit at DCI and is led by Michael Sang. This team has been tasked to record statements and piece the investigations. The DP is yet to record statement.

Last week, Sang and his team are said to have visited the DP’s office in the city centre but failed to meet Ruto as he was said to be in a meeting.

The investigators left after they were informed that Ruto would get back.

Yesterday, detectives said the DCI is yet to get a response from the DP on when or if he would record statements with the police.

There has not been further communication between the two offices for the last one week. Itumbi has claimed in court documents that he is in possession of a video evidence on the Ruto murder plans.  

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