NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 11 – Details have now emerged how the Head of the Civil Service Francis Muthaura was trapped into meeting masqueraders, claiming to be university student leaders who wanted to organise protests in his support.
It all started with persistent visits to the President\’s office at Harambee House by a Mr Philemon Kiogora, who identified himself as the chairman of the Meru University Students Association (MUSA).
Officials at Harambee House are reported to have advised the man to write a formal letter stating the purpose of his visit for him to be allowed to meet Ambassador Muthaura, whose office on the 2nd floor is one of the most tightly guarded in the corridors of power.
He also left his mobile phone number on his letter which was duly received and stamped by Ambassador Muthaura\’s personal secretary.
Sources within the Office of the President and within the political circles however told Capital News that Ambassador Muthaura had already been informed about the man\’s visit by a politician from the Meru community.
The man explained in his letter that he was representing an association of university students who wanted him to assist them "print 400 T-shirts and four banners and also assist with the press."
"I was in your office today in my capacity as the chairman of MUSA with the intention to discuss on behalf of the association a peaceful demonstration and a press conference we intend to hold in protest of appearance of your name in the Ocampo six," the letter in our possession reads in part.
"We feel that was unfair and some conspiracy towards our community."
They also wanted Ambassador Muthaura to "assist acquire a permit to hold a peaceful demonstration."
They stated that they intended to carry out the demonstration on January 14 and therefore, wanted Ambassador Muthaura to get back to them as soon as possible.
Soon after receiving the letter, Ambassador Muthaura is reported to have asked his aides to contact the man and a meeting was arranged where he turned up with another man whom he introduced as the student association\’s official.
It is during this meeting which lasted for about 20 minutes that, the two men held a candid conversation with the Secretary to Cabinet who was not aware that they were recording the entire conversation which ended with him giving them a "substantial amount of money."
On Thursday, Ambassador Muthaura called a press conference and announced that he had learnt of a blackmail plot hatched by the people who had gone to see him, using "distorted recording" of the conversation.
He said: "The tape is being circulated in Parliament as well as among people with hidden interests; some MPs have a copy. And I have also listened to the material but it is edited and is being used to make me look bad." he said.
Soon after Ambassador Muthaura\’s news conference, Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo addressed the press and released the recording.
A section of Meru MPs on Friday claimed the recording was part of a wider plot to get Ambassador Muthaura removed from the Office of the President.
Led by Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi, the six MPs accused an unnamed group of rival politicians whom they claimed were out to tarnish Ambassador Muthaura\’s reputation through blackmail.
Some of the Meru MPs who accompanied Mr Murungi at the press conference pointed an accusing finger to some ODM MPs.
"I have been in politics for long enough… these things are planned. You even remember I was once taped (in the Anglo Leasing saga). There are people scheming to remove Ambassador Muthaura from the Office of the President," Mr Murungi claimed without elaborating.
"It is a conspiracy towards our community, the same people who have schemed for him to go to The Hague are the same people playing these politics," he said and vowed that "as a community we are not going to take this lying down."
Tigania West MP Dr Kilemi Mwiria said: "I have listened to the recording on Ambassador Muthaura, and I can tell you the whole thing is edited to portray him negatively."
Ntoita M\’Mithiaru of Igembe North said: "It is clear that some people are bent to see Amb Muthaura destroyed and are using all means and going to all ends to achieve their aim."
Kareke Mbiuki of Nithi told journalists that he believed the blackmail on Ambassador Muthaura was planned by MPs in ODM.
"As soon as the recording was done, it was delivered to people in ODM, these are people who organised the whole thing," Mr Mbiuki said.
In the recording provided to journalists by Mr Midiwo, Amb Muthaura can be heard talking about some of the accusations levelled against him by the ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo.
He is also heard pleading with the students not to hold any demonstration in his support, saying it would cause damage to him and the government.
Ambassador Muthaura on Thursday displayed a white t-shirt printed with his photograph which he said was dropped in his office by the which intended to disrupt a political rally Prime Minister Raila Odinga in Meru on Saturday to make it appear like he had a hand in it.
On Friday, the Meru leaders announced that they were "peace loving Kenyans and welcomed the Prime Minister to their home turf."
Ambassador Muthaura said he had asked the police and provincial administration to investigate the blackmail plot and bring those behind it to book.
Capital News reliably learnt that police were yet to contact Mr Kiogora who is the main suspect in the blackmail plot yet he had left a phone number in the letter he dropped in OP.
"We have been given his number which is still active; we want to gather all the information surrounding this issue before we get to him. He is very accessible. We will definitely get a statement from him," a senior police officer at Police Headquarters said.
Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe told Capital News the investigation was underway but could not give any further details.
We have learnt that police investigating the case intend to question the main suspect, his associates and people including a politician said to have been working with him in the alleged blackmail plot.
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