No evidence arrested Venezuelans are IEBC or Smartmatic staff


Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss George Kinoti has explained the reasons behind the arrest of three Venezuelans and the confiscation of the electoral materials at JKIA.

In a statement dated July 23, 2022, Kinoti said the Venezuelan nationals; Jose Gregorio Camargo Castellanos, Joel Gustavo Rodriguez Garcia and Salvador Javier Sosa Suarez were arrested after their bag which contained election materials was flagged at the airport.

Kinoti said, upon investigations, police established that the suspects’ contracts did not explicitly state they were employees of IEBC or the IT firm contracted to deliver poll materials, as alleged by IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati.

“Camargo confessed that he was given the materials from Panama by his company M/S Smartmatic International Holding B.V and that the material was destined for a private office in Nairobi,” he said.

“From the aforesaid invitation letters, it is clear that the three foreigners were in Kenya solely for business with Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed, applying for his personnel who he had contracted to come to his office in Nairobi for work-related activities. It is also clear that the said Camargo and his two counterparts were to report to Mohamed’s office at Nairobi and not at IEBC offices.” 

The evidence, according to the DCI boss, established that Mohamed was not also an IEBC employee as alleged by Chebukati.

Kinoti said the officers confiscated the bag containing 17 rolls of stickers targeted to serve at least 10,000 polling stations in 10 counties.

They are Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Meru, Machakos, Murang’a, Bomet, Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi, Nyandarua and Kericho.In a separate bag, Carmago was also found in possession of a personal laptop, a personal monitor, five flash discs, one mobile phone and assorted personal computer accessories.

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“Consequently, all the suspicious material carried by the suspect belonged to Abdulahi Abdi Mohamed but not IEBC… To date, the 17 rolls previously smuggled in remain unaccounted for unless Chebukati confirms to Kenyans of their existence since he has not complained about them,” he said.

Chebukati had said the three people were employees of a firm contracted to deploy technology during the upcoming polls.

The three employees of Smartmatic International B.V. were arrested upon arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) from Venezuela.

“Despite the commission CEO explaining to the security authorities that the three personnel were in the country to execute lawful contract relating to the deployment of technology in elections,” Chebukati said.

He stated that the trio were tasked with helping the commission to deploy Kiems kits across the country.

“The three personnel, who are employees of Smartmatic International B.V were arrested upon arrival. IEBC has a valid legal contract executed between itself and Smartmatic International B.V. for the supply, delivery, installation, testing, commissioning, support and maintenance of the Kenya Integrated Election Management System,” Chebukati said.

Kinoti, however, termed the remarks as dishonest and choreographed.

He challenged him to put his house in order ahead of the polls.”We find the Chairperson Chebukati to be insincere and dishonest by declaring people who have been disowned by his own staff as IEBC personnel,” he said.

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