Deputy President William Ruto has given tough conditions before he can record a statement with detectives regarding an alleged plot to assassinate him.
The revelation came as State House remained tight-lipped over whether President Uhuru Kenyatta was aware of a meeting of some Cabinet Secretaries at Hotel La Mada on Thika Road where the DP was allegedly the subject of discussion.
State House spokesperson Kanze Dena declined to confirm or deny the assertions made by Nyeri Town Member of Parliament Ngunjiri Wambugu on Monday to the effect that, in fact, Uhuru was aware of, and had approved, the meetings.
She called for patience as investigations into the assassination claims are done.
“No comment. The matter is under investigations. Let the detectives do their job,” Dena told People Daily on phone.
However, she dismissed reports in sections of the media yesterday, that State House had hosted a meeting of some Cabinet Secretaries and senior government officials over the issue on Saturday.
“We are not aware of such a meeting because there was nothing like that,” Dena said.
Likewise, Ruto’s director of communications David Mugonyi declined to comment on the assassination claims and State House meeting, maintaining that he had read the claims in the papers “like any other Kenyan”.
“I am not aware of such a meeting because I was with the DP in Western Kenya. Neither has my boss told me anything about the so-called letter that is the subject of investigations,” said Mugonyi.
Yesterday, it emerged that Ruto had insisted that only the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti personally could record his statement.
He is also said to have told the DCI that he will be the last person to record a statement after all those linked to the alleged assassination plot have shared their narratives.
Ruto also wants the DCI to retrieve the surveillance footage from Hotel La Mada, where Cabinet Secretaries Joe Mucheru (ICT), Peter Munya (Trade) and Sicily Kariuki (Health) and other leaders from Mt Kenya region had met to allegedly plot his killing.
Officials aware of the investigations told this newspaper that Ruto had demanded that the DCI boss himself records his statement.
But Kinoti did not budge, insisting that he had already assigned the head of Economic Crimes Unit Superintendent Michael Sang to lead investigations into the matter.
Sources at the DCI have meanwhile intimated that investigations into the assassination claim were yet to progress because detectives cannot act on the sketchy information gathered so far.
Sang is said to have tried in vain to contact the DP on Monday but was informed to ask his seniors to talk to him.
Kinoti yesterday declined to comment on the matter, insisting that he was waiting for a report from the officers he had tasked to handle it.
“I can’t comment on the issue at the moment because my officers are yet to brief me on the progress,” was all Kinoti could say.
We also established that Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai intervened later on Monday to convince Ruto to have his statement recorded, but the DP is said to have stuck to his guns, demanding that only Kinoti could take his statement.
“We could be facing an issue of protocol, because the DP may not want to record a statement with a perceived junior officer,” said a detective who sought anonymity.
Ruto has in the past criticised Kinoti for alleged bias in the handling of corruption investigations involving individuals allied to the DP, especially those touching on the construction of Arror and Kimwarer dams. The probe is pending.
Sources at the DCI said that Kinoti assigns officers he deems fit to handle specific investigations regardless of who is being probed. The source said that Sang is a seasoned detective holding the position of superintendent of police.
“He (Sang) was kept waiting to speak to the DP for the better part of Monday afternoon,” said an officer who asked not to be named.
The veracity of accusations made by the DP has divided the Executive wing of government.
People close to Ruto insist the DCI should force those who had attended the meeting to produce minutes of the gathering.
“Let Kinoti go to the hotel and review the CCTV footage of those who attended. He should also demand to see the minutes of the meeting and ask why the meetings were being held in the basement,” an aide of the DP said.
The storm over the assassination claims started when the DP allegedly complained that some members of the Executive had been holding meetings in Nairobi to plot his assassination.
The claims were captured in a purported letter by a CS from Central Kenya, addressed to the President, detailing those who were present at the hotel meeting and the alleged agenda.
Police are keen to establish the veracity and origin of the letter that some believe may be a forgery meant to trigger a crisis in government.
“The letter may have been authored by people who know what they want to achieve,” said a detective involved in the probe.
Yesterday, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria claimed he was the one who had initiated the meeting at Hotel La Mada to discuss development of Central Kenya region.
“This whole meeting of La Mada including the choice of the hotel, I’m the one who initiated it because I am the coordinator of development projects in our region. Let us believe the investigative agencies are going to tell us the truth. Once they give us the truth it’ll be a turning point for this country,” he said during a talk show on NTV.