The Star (Nairobi)

16 August 2012

Kenya: MP Muthama Denies Using Venezuela Diplomatic Bag

Kangundo MP Johnston Muthama yesterday denied new allegations by fugitive murder suspect Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed Hassan that he had used officials at the Venezuela embassy as couriers for his precious stones exports.

Muthama said the only contact he had with the embassy was as their landlord. Muthama owns the house where Venezuela's acting ambassador Olga Fonseca was found murdered on July 26.

Mohamed is wanted by the police in connection with the diplomat's murder and has been on the run since news of her death were announced. He has in interviews with the Star claimed he is in hiding in Kenya with the assistance of some members of the diplomatic police unit. The unit's boss Allan Sangoro has denied this and challenged Mohamed to reveal those helping him.

"I have never used the embassy to bring in anything or transport anything outside the country. I have a contract with the embassy as their landlord and that is where it ends. Anything else is total lies. What happens at the embassy is not my business as I am just a mere landlord," Muthama told the Star on phone.

He said he had a company dealing only in the export of gemstones and was not involved in any importation business."The company only deals in export of precious stones and other legal products," he said and denied that it had any business deals with anyone in India, Syria or any country in Asia as alleged by Mohamed.

The MP also denied claims by Dr Mohamed that he had sought to have one of his children appointed as technical advisor at UNEP for the Embassy of Venezuela. "I have a company where my children can work, why should I try to use junior diplomats to get a job for any of my children?," said Muthama in response to claims by Mohamed that he had made the request through the embassy's first secretary Dwight Sagaray.

Sagaray has since been arrested and charged with the murder of the envoy. Mohamed is also wanted for the same murder as police say he was very close to the embassy and knew about its operations even though he was not an employee. Mohamed and Sagaray were also housemates.

Mohamed claimed political intrigues involving some of the embassy staff was a possible motive for Fonseca's murder. He alleged that the Venezual staff were divided with some supporting the Socialist Party of Venezuela headed by President Hugo Chavez and others supporting the opposition.

He said there was friction within the embassy over such issues as which flag to use. While the anti-Chavez staff wanted the old seven star flag and coat of arms used on all official communications, those who were in favor of the Chavez government wanted the new eight-star flag and coat of arms adopted. Mohamed said that by the time Fonseca arrived at her new posting, the tensions and divisions in the embassy were so high that some of the staff, including Sagaray had raised their concerns with their government.

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