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Muthaura reveals blackmail plot

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 10 – The Head of the Civil Service Francis Muthaura on Thursday revealed a bid by people posing as university students to blackmail him into funding anti-Hague demonstrations.

Ambassador Muthaura told a press conference in Nairobi that the same group intended to disrupt a rally by Prime Minister Raila Odinga planned for Meru, by brandishing T-Shirts with his portrait at the meeting.

He said that he was against the heckling plans as they would ruin his relationship with the PM.

The secretary to the Cabinet however admitted having held discussions with the purported student leaders where he gave them an un-disclosed amount of money "for lunch" but refused to say how much it was.

"I told them what my charges at the ICC were and then we parted ways. But I also gave them a little money; we do that for students so that they can buy lunch or transport or anything," he said.

He added that it was during the meeting that one of the students recorded the conversation and was now using the material to blackmail him.

"That 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.

Ambassador Muthaura is among the six suspects whom ICC Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo wants prosecuted over the 2008 post-election violence.

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He argued that he respected the law and would not engage in such antics. He has revealed that he had reported the matter to the Provincial Administration and the police.

"I have served this country for such a long time and I respect the rule of law and democracy. So I would never take part in such primitive, dirty dealings," he said.

Details of the said meeting and the events that followed however remained scanty with Ambassador Muthaura saying he would not disclose the names of the purported student leader as the matter had already been taken up with the authorities.

Meanwhile Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo who is in possession of the tape has now asked the National Cohesion and Integration Commission to investigate the allegations.

"I am going to be forwarding this particular tape with a special request to the Police Commissioner to do some investigation and report if there is a crime here or there is no contortion of crime. I am also going to write to the commission of Mzalendo Kibunjia to see if this is relevant to them and send them this tape," the MP said.

Speaking at Parliament buildings Mr Midiwo, who is also the Government Chief Whip in Parliament, also urged Ambassador Muthaura to disclose how much money he gave the alleged university student leaders.

He said: "The authenticity of this thing is no longer in question; the voice itself (Muthaura) has said that the recording is with MPs. Many members have advised me against acting on it saying that our country needs to move forward."

The MP said he had kept the 10-minute long recording in his possession for the last four days after it came from a source who thought that what "was being said in the meeting was not right."

Mr Midiwo is also asking the Police Commissioner to ensure security is provided to the people who will be attending the PM\’s rally scheduled for Saturday.

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