Suspect detained in Kenya is Devani nephew

April 28, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 28 – Police have now identified the man arrested on suspicion of being Triton Oil scandal architect Yagnesh Devani as his 33-year-old nephew.

A statement from Police headquarters said Devani Kalpesh Vasudev Mohanlal who was traveling on a Kenyan passport was arrested soon after he landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport last Friday aboard an Air Arabia flight from New Delhi.

Mr Mohanlal was set free after samples of his finger prints failed to match those of his 45 year old uncle who is wanted over two criminal charges pending at the Chief Magistrate’s court in Nairobi in connection with the Sh7.6 billion Triton oil scam.

“The finger prints taken from the subject upon arrest were found not to be identical with known finger prints of the accused namely Yagnesh Mohanlal Devani,”  Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere said in the statement.

On Tuesday, Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang told a local radio station that his officers had confirmed the man’s identity as that of the runaway Mr Devani and accused the police of misleading the public.

When put to task by reporters to substantiate the claims at a later press briefing in his office, the Mbita legislator laughed off and declined to answer any question related to Devani or the suspect who spent the entire weekend in police custody.

But Mr Iteere said on Wednesday: “The man was released because he was found to be a nephew to and shares the same family names with Devani,” the statement added.

The Police Chief clarified that the man was arrested following information that he was Mr Devani who is wanted in Nairobi.

“In view of the information previously received, it became necessary to carry out further investigations to authenticate his identity,” he said.

Mr Iteere added: “His age was confirmed to be 33years old while the accused who is his uncle is aged around 45years. Consequently, he was released.”

He said efforts to trace and extradite Yagnesh Devani were still in progress so that he can stand trial.

Confidential briefs given to the police from the Interpol showed that the man thought to be Mr Devani was in London for the better part of last week from where he left via India and later to Nairobi.

Nairobi-based lawyer Katwa Kigen who represents Mr Devani was the first to disown reports of his clients’ arrest over the weekend when he told reporters Mr Devani was a free man.

He told reporters in Eldoret at the weekend that he had even spoken to him [Devani] who assured him that he was not in the country or in anybody’s custody.

The government sought Interpol’s help to have Mr Devani, together with other directors of his Triton Petroleum Company arrested over the scandal in January last year after accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers was contracted to carry out a forensic audit on the scope of the fraud in which the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and the Kenya Pipeline Company lost colossal sums of money.


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