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Dennis Itumbi has a case to answer on letter alleging plot to kill DP William Ruto

NATIONAL
By Kamau Muthoni | September 23rd 2021

 

Communication strategist and blogger Dennis Itumbi.[ Samson Wire. Standard].

Blogger Dennis Itumbi, who now works with Deputy President William Ruto, was yesterday put on his defence in a forgery case.

Milimani Court Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku, in a virtual session, ruled that by the close of the state’s case, there was a probable case that he forged a letter that was allegedly authored by a Cabinet Secretary alleging assassination of DP Ruto.

The letter claimed the meeting was held at La Mada Hotel, off Thika Road in Nairobi. Itumbi was put on his defence alongside Samuel Gateri, who was to be a star witness in the case where he is accused of fabricating the letter. Gateri was initially listed as the State’s first witness alongside two Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers.

State disowned

However, Gateri later disowned the State, claiming he had been coerced to implicate Itumbi.  

The short ruling by the magistrate opened the door for Itumbi to produce a video recording, which he claims to show what happened at the alleged May 14, 2019 meeting.

“Having analysed the evidence before court I find that the prosecution has proved a case to warrant the accused persons to be placed on their defence,” Mutuku ruled yesterday.

 Itumbi had at the start of the case asked the court to allow him to play the video but in-camera.

His lawyer Katwa Kigen argued that the case before the court was politically instigated.

Itumbi faced three counts: Making a false document, publishing a false statement, and re-programming his mobile phone.

In the first count, the State claimed Itumbi, on June 20, 2019, drafted a letter knowing it was a fabrication. “Dennis Itumbi, on June 20, 2019, at an unknown place within the Republic of Kenya, made a document to wit a letter dated May 30, 2019 purporting to be a genuine document made by a cabinet secretary...” the charge read in part.

Itumbi pleaded not guilty.

On the second, Itumbi is claimed to have published the letter to cause public havoc. This, the state argued, was despite knowing the allegations in the letter were false.

Two mobile phones confiscated from Gateri after his arrest on July 2, 2019 led detectives to Itumbi.

Earlier, lead investigator Yvonne Anyango, in a separate application to hold Itumbi, had told the court that after searching the phones she found that Itumbi had shared the letter containing allegations about a plot to assassinate the DP in a WhatsApp group named Tangatanga Movement. “Pursuant to the perusal of the said WhatsApp group, the purported letter, allegedly emanating from a ‘Cabinet Secretary’, was recovered as having been posted by the respondent (Itumbi) in the said WhatsApp group on June 20, 2019,” Ms Anyango said.

The court heard that the WhatsApp group, which was created on July 8, 2018, had 256 members, including some governors and MPs.

In a back and forth applications before the lower court, Gateri applied to be dropped as a witness in the case, claiming he had been forced to testify against Itumbi.

Under arrest

“I was under arrest and they told me they would go ahead and execute me if I did not confirm I had a telephone conversation with his Excellency the Deputy President, and Mr Dennis Itumbi was my link. They further threatened that they would take me to high-ranking security personnel in government so that I could be dealt with,” Gateri claimed in the September 2, 2019 application.

“I insisted that I did not know the individuals they were mentioning at a personal level and that I only knew them through social media and I had never interacted with either of them; therefore I could not be of any help to them.

However, while denying coercing him, the DCI told the court that it had intelligence on a trail of communication in the WhatsApp group allegedly formed to drum up support for Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.

Yesterday, the magistrate ordered that their lawyers take a date today when the two will appear before the court to give their side of the story.

Itumbi said he would challenge the ruling before the High Court.

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