Nairobi News


DCI, electoral commission tussle over Venezuelan linked to election materials

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) have found themselves entangled in a tussle over the arrest of a foreigner who arrested on Thursday night with election materials at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

It all started on Friday morning when the National Police Service said the Venezuelan national, Comarco Gregoria, had been released from lawful custody and the election material released to IEBC, claims that were refuted by the electoral agency chairperson Wafula Chebukati.

“The arrest and subsequent investigations into the material was necessitated by the sensitivity of election material, and further, by other aspects leading to his release,” Police spokesperson, Bruno Shioso, said.

Bruno said police officers made the arrests after taking note of the fact that the stickers which Mr Gregoria had were not declared by law and that no official from the electoral body was with the foreigner.

He said that investigations carried out by detectives attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) proved that indeed the election material belonged to IEBC.

However, in a rejoinder IEBC accused the National Police Service of harassing the personnel and also confiscating of items that are meant to be used during the general election on August 9.

Mr Chebukati said that the agency had not been given the stickers which Mr Gregoria was bringing to the country and that they had been forced to give crucial information that may affect the outcome of the elections.

“The police service confiscated all electronic items including mobile phones, laptops and flash disks in the custody of the said personnel, the electronic items contain important and sensitive information relating to the forthcoming elections as well as other projects undertaken in other countries,” the IEBC said in the statement.

Mr Chebukati also said the police of temporarily  detaining two other officials who went to check on Mr Gregoria. The electoral agency chairperson said that in as much as the two had been released it was on condition that they report to the anti-terrorism police unit on July 26.

But the DCI responded by saying there is no such office within the police service.

“The statement issued by the IEBC Chairman is not only inaccurate, but also misleading to the public and should be treated with the contempt it deserved,” the DCI in the statement said.

Meanwhile, Mr Chebukati said the commission is still committed to delivering a free, fair and credible 2022 General Election.