Kenya: Suspects in DP Office Laptop Scam 'Had Police Escort'

22 January 2021

A businessman yesterday told a Nairobi court that the people who offered them a tender to supply 2,800 laptops worth Sh180 million purportedly for Deputy President William Ruto's office had police escort and unfettered access to government offices.

Motorcyle dealer Charles Musinga told the court that there was nothing to suggest the deal was fake, and that some of the suspects in the case drove top-of-range vehicles emblazoned with state insignia.

Mr Musinga, who is a director of Makindu Motors alongside Stephen Musyoka, was testifying in a case in which people are accused of passing themselves off as Dr Ruto's personal assistants.

'Broad daylight'

Appearing before Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku at the Milimani Law Courts, Mr Musinga gave graphic details of how they were "conned out of laptops and money in broad daylight".

The businessman recounted how he was introduced to a Ms Muhoro, whose real name he later learnt to be Joy Kamau, by his close friend, Augustine Matata.

The boda boda dealer said Ms Muhoro (Wangari), whom he identified in court, gave him details of a tender for the supply of laptops to the DP's office.

"We arranged a meeting with Ms Muhoro (Wangari), which would take place at the Office of the DP, opposite the Office of the President in Harambee House," Mr Musinga recalled.

Await clearance

He said he drove with Mr Matata to the DP's office in May 2018, then waited at the Java restaurant in the adjacent building, awaiting clearance to proceed to the DP's from Ms Muhoro.

Ms Muhoro, the trader explained, joined them at the restaurant, then they proceeded to the office of the DP, where they met Mr Allan Kiprotich Chesang, who introduced himself as Dr Ruto's personal assistant, a job title he allegedly shared with Ms Muhoro.

"Can you identify the persons whom you say duped you in the Sh180m laptops scam?" state prosecutor Anderson Gikunda asked Mr Musinga.

"Yes I can identify them. There is Joy Wangari Kamau, who introduced herself to me Ms Muhoro. That is Mr Chesang and the others that we interacted with," Mr Musinga testified, pointing out the suspects.

The boda-boda dealer also identified Teddy Awiti, Kelvin Nyongesa, James Makokha alias Mr Wanyonyi and Joram Osore as persons they interacted with in the course of supplying the laptops and money.

Joint charge

The seven face a joint charge of conspiring to defraud Makindu Motors of 2,800 laptops worth Sh180million using a local purchase order (LPO) from the Office of the Deputy President on diverse dates between May 30 and August 12, 2018.

They also face charges of obtaining 2,800 laptops worth Sh180,000,000 from Mr Ngei.

The second witness to testify in the laptop scam said they held meetings at a Karen Hotel belonging to Cabinet Secretary Raphael Tuju with the accused, where they allegedly gave Ms Muhoro Sh500,000 as a facilitation fee and later paid more than Sh11million through a bank transfer.

They also met again at Ole-Sereni hotel along Mombasa Road to iron out issues about delivery of the laptops.

'Mr Wanyonyi'

On June 19, 2018, the witness said, they met Ms Muhoro again but this time she was in the company of her "boss, Mr Wanyonyi" at Ole-Sereni, where she gave them the LPO for the supply of 2800 pieces of laptops.

They found a supplier and the first batch of 145 pieces, Ms Muhoro allegedly informed them, was to be delivered at Treasury building.

"At the Treasury the laptops were received and confirmed by police officers," Mr Musinga said.

They later went to the eighth floor at the Ministry of Devolution headquarters, where they met Christian Mwendwa, who signed the delivery documents.

Then, the witnessed went on, they supplied the second batch of 587 pieces, which they were told to take to some private offices in Eastleigh, where they were informed a "Mr Kiptoo" (Chesang), supposedly a personal assistant to the DP, would collect the consignment.

First accused

According to the prosecution, Kiptoo is Allan Chesang, the first accused in the case.

The court heard that Kiptoo alias Chesang came with police escort, driving a state- of-the-art Range Rover KCJ1 with insignias of Parliament and Office of the Deputy President's insignia.

Mr Chesang also collected the third batch of 500 pieces and the fourth batch of 620 pieces in the same fashion.

Mr Musinga told the court after they had delivered all the pieces, "Miss Muhoro" invited them to a meeting with the chairman, Mr Wanyonyi, at Ole Sereni and told them they had done a good job and that they would be given another tender to supply ambulances.

The case was adjourned to February 15, 2021, when Mr Musinga will be cross-examined.

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