Kenya: Why World Coin Operators Haven't Been Arrested - Interior Cabinet Secretary Kindiki

14 September 2023

Nairobi — Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki was on Thursday put to task to explain why the owners of Tools for Humanity, the parent firm for World Coin have not been arrested despite their contravening the law.

The National Assembly Adhoc committee members questioned why the World Coin Project founders were not put behind bars pending the conclusion of the investigation arguing that preliminary findings show they violated the law.

Kindiki however explained the undertaking of the United States government to collaborate with the government to ensure the American firm owners are brought to book once found guilty halting their impending arrest.

"They tried to leave the country but were stopped and put in custody but the US government intervened saying they would be allowed to leave because they haven't yet been found guilty but gave an undertaking that it will produce them when required," he said.

The Interior Boss assured no stone will be left unturned in ensuring culpable government officials and those in the private sector involved in abetting the World Coin Project outside the law are held to account.

Investigative agencies have recovered 48 orbs, electronic devices, and merchandise related to Worldcoin operations in the country.

Various documents have been retrieved and statements from 26 witnesses and individuals of interest have been recorded.

"Anyone in government or out of government, in private sector or public sector who its established aided, supported, encouraged or even attempted to support any of those things in relation to world coin, we will hold them accountable," Kindiki said.

Kindiki warned against taking action before the conclusion of the investigation by relevant government agencies as well as Interpol denying the allegation that the government shielded the owners of World Coin and its activities in the country.

"No one is immune, nobody is excluded, if you ae found on the wrong side of the law, action will be taken, even if it's me as the security minister I will take responsibility," he noted.

Manyatta MP John Mukunji questioned why arrests were still pending despite glaring violation of the law by the World Coin Project operators saying the pending arrests might lead to mistrust from Kenyans.

"Could we have some arraigned in court because even before the conclusion of the investigation we know already the law was broken and Kenyans were misused. Are we still in that part of the investigation until the public is not following keenly," Mukunji said.

"We are here arresting people who have committed small crimes like stealing Chicken.But what about these people who have committed bigger crimes,when they were here smirking at us,"Kisumu East Shakiir Shabir said.

Homabay Town MP Peter Kaluma added:"These people were here walking freely. Why are we applying the law selectively on something so clear. Why are the law enforcement agencies not acting even the law clear on matters mentioned,"

Retrieving Data

The Interior Cabinet Secretary remained non-committal on whether the data captured from Kenyans can be retrieved saying government experts have given two conflicting opinions on the matter.

"We are getting two conflicting expert opinion because this is science and its not black and white. From one side, the experts are saying that data can be retrieved and deleted. There's a different opinion saying even when deleted can be retrieved," he said.

"Do we think we stand a chance on retrieving Kenyans data collected by the Worldcoin Project?"posed the Chair of the ad-hoc committee Gabriel Tongoyo.

Kindiki explained that the scanning of the iris was one of the most intrusive methods of collecting data pointing out that experts have elaborated that the biological consequences of the method could be life threatening.

"Yes, but we need to do a lot of work and jealousy guard because as i had said data is very precious and the nature in which the data in question was harvested was extreme, its allowed yes but the nature in which a foreign company harvested that data, we need to more rigorous," Kindiki said.

In addition, Kindiki warned that allowing the use of cryptocurrency might lead to money laundering and financing of terror activities due to the opaque nature of the cryptocurrency operations.

With the absence of a legal framework guiding the usage of cryptocurrency. He said the grey areas on its usage might pose more economic and security risks.

"I need to be convinced as a security minister, that if there are grey areas and we can't pinpoint the owners of the money and how they have made that money at the crypto trade level until the money finds its way into a financial institution," he said.

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