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ICT CS Eliud Owalo pardons man who impersonated him on Facebook

Information, Communication and Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eliud Owalo has pardoned a man who impersonated him on Facebook.

The man was arrested last week and was set to be charged with operating a Facebook account with the name and image of the high ranking civil sevant.

“You are freed and warned that you should not engage in the business of faking senior government officers. If you repeat such an offence in future this court will deal with you harshly,” Milimani senior principal magistrate Bernard Ochoi cautioned the suspect while discharging him.

Calvince Otieno Odhiambo who had been detained at the Kilimani Police Station for the last four days told the magistrate he apologized to the CS and undertook never to repeat such an offence.

“I apologized to the CS and l also beg to be pardoned by this court. I promise this court that I will never repeat this deceitful act again. Free me to go back to fend for my family,” Odhiambo pleaded.

The state prosecutor James Gachoka told the court that police have closed the criminal file and have withdrawn the case that was intended to be filed against Odhiambo.

“We have closed the investigation file and police do not wish to pursue the issue. Odhiambo has been pardoned by the CS herein after apologizing to him,” Mr Gachoka informed the court.

The magistrate proceeded to free the suspect and marked the matter settled.

Odhiambo was arrested by police at Rongo and then transferred to Nairobi for further legal processing.

Upon his arrest on January 5, 2023 in Rongo , Migori County, Odhiambo who had opened a facebook account in the name of Mr Owalo had in his possession six mobile phones, several Safaricom and Airtel sim cards.

When he was arrested, Odhiambo who was using a mobile phone number 0734338090, registered using a national identity card 5884319 of Anjilina Achola Odede ,born in 1939.

“Police are tracing Anjilina to establish under what circumstances her details were used by the Odhiambo to register the said airtel line,” Sgt Musungu told the court.

Mr Ochoi heard the Facebook account was active between December 6, 2022 and January 5, 2023 when the suspect was arrested.

“The fake facebook account was first seen by Dr Barrack Okwaro Muruka, the advisor, ministry of information, communication and digital economy who shared with the CS. Owalo confirmed he had seen it,” the investigating officer Sergent Rinos Musungu told Ms Kagendo while urging the detention plea.

Sgt Musungu said he arrested the suspect from Rongo in Migori then transferred him to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) , Nairobi where the phones and sim cards will be subjected to forensic examinations.

The magistrate heard from a phone recovered from the suspect he had posted a messenger :“Hi friends,we can discuss employment, business, development opportunities, women, men and youth empowerment in this podium to help each other in building a better society and a better country in these hard economic times, because l believe if he hold each others hands we shall conquer demon called poverty in Jesus name. ”

Sgt Musungu pleaded with Ochoi to allow his plea to detain the suspect for four days for examination of the documents by experts.

The accused did not oppose the request by police to be detained but said four days were too many given that he was arrested on January 5, 2023 and has been cooperative.

The suspects walked free after being discharged by the court.

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