DCI and IEBC end row over Venezuelans arrested at JKIA

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati and Director of DCI George Kinoti. [Standard]

Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) have agreed to end row over arrests of Venezuelan nationals and pledged to work together to resolve differences away from the public.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Nairobi on Thursday, July 28, attended by DCI Director George Kinoti and IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati, the Inspector of Police Hillary Mutyambai said the matter of three Venezuelans arrested at JKIA with election stickers had been resolved.

“With regard to investigations revolving around electoral stickers recently imported into the country, I wish to inform Kenyans that the matter has been resolved,” said Mutyambai.

He said the two institutions have continued to collaborate and work together harmoniously in the dispatch of election materials from point to point as scheduled.

Chebukati who addressed the podium stated the move followed a successful meeting between the commission and Mutyambai on Thursday afternoon.

“If have agreed to work together moving forward, and if there is any issue it shall be resolved internally,” said Chebukati.

The new details come barely a week after police announced they had set free three Venezuelan nationals contracted by the IEBC after establishing that the election-related stickers he had at the JKIA on Thursday were genuine material belonging to the electoral agency.

The foreigners had been arrested after police suspected him of impropriety upon landing at the JKIA with IEBC material declared “personal luggage”.

Police now say they’ve established that the foreigners were constantly communicating with the IEBC and that the material was lawfully assigned to them.

Authorities said they detained them while investigating why the election-related stickers they had were declared in accordance with the law.

Police said they were also seeking to find out why the stickers were not accompanied by an IEBC official as per the routine procedure.

Citing the sensitivity of elections material, police further stated that they ought to have been notified of the importation of election-related material beforehand to “provide necessary security and escort”.

Police Spokesperson Bruno Shioso said upon completion of investigations, they released the Venezuelan national, who the IEBC had contracted to roll out technology during the August 9, 2022, General Election.

“Subsequent investigations have revealed that the stickers were bona fide property of the IEBC and part of the election-related material. Based on that finding, the suspect has been released from lawful custody and the stickers released to IEBC,” Shioso said in a press statement on Friday, July 22.