UNMASKED: Man who led ‘Nation’ writer into police trap
The identity of a man who lured Nation reporter Walter Menya into a trap that saw him arrested by six police detectives on Sunday can now be revealed.
Mr Kennedy Kiprotich Koros is a young, paid intern at the Non-Governmental Organisations Coordination Board.
Last week, Mr Koros supplied Mr Menya with documents to enable him to do a story about civil servants behind a lobby supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election campaign, but later facilitated the reporter’s arrest.
In his communications with Mr Menya, Mr Koros had lied that he works at Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto’s office and ran an NGO.
On Monday, Mr Ruto’s aide said no one working at that office bore that name.
Our investigations reveal that Mr Koros, who is in his twenties, works at the NGO board’s corporate affairs department.
A letter seen by the Nation indicates that he was appointed to this position last December by board chairman Fazul Mahamed. The letter tells him to commence his six-month contract on January 3, 2017.
Sources at the NGO regulator on Wednesday said that, since Sunday, there has been concerted efforts by a senior official of the board to hide the fact that Mr Koros works there. A source said the frantic efforts led to the disabling of the board’s website on Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, the website was eerily blank. It reported no error upon visiting it but no information loaded on the page.
However, we managed to obtain at least three bits of information from the site through Google’s cache capability, which showed that Mr Koros’s name had featured a couple of times on the board’s website.
One of the pieces of information available is a newsletter from the organisation released on March 1 last year, called The Co-ordinator, where Mr Koros is listed as a public relations official and is the author of an introductory article.
The information about his work at the NGO body contradicts what government investigator Moses Gituathi told a Nairobi court on Monday.
While arguing why police should continue detaining Mr Menya, Mr Gituathi, a police corporal, at one point said the money allegedly demanded by Mr Menya was too high.
“The complainant [Mr Koros] is a young man who is unemployed and it was not easy for him to obtain the Sh50,000. Because he was eager for his information to be published, he promised that he would pay the Sh50,000,” said the prosecutor.
Mr Menya is now a free man after Senior Principal Magistrate Martha Mutuku on Tuesday ordered that he be released by police without any bond terms. Mr Menya had spent Sunday and Monday night in police cells as prosecutors sought to charge him for what they claimed was extortion.
A statement from police spokesman George Kinoti on Sunday claimed that Mr Menya demanded Sh50,000 to write a story that was published on page 12 of the June 18 edition of the Sunday Nation.
The lobby group that Mr Menya had reported about is registered as a non-governmental organisation regulated by the body under which Mr Koros works.
By Tuesday, prosecutors had found no charge to press against Mr Menya. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko, then asked that the file be taken to him while the journalist is set free.
A former student at Egerton University, Mr Koros appears to be a sharp dresser — going by photos seen by the Nation. A former classmate at Egerton described him as a man with the gift of the gab.
Calls to Mr Koros’s mobile number were unsuccessful. Mr Fazul Mahamed, executive director of the NGO Coordination Board, did not take calls, also.
Reports by Elvis Ondieki, Stella Cherono and Nyaboga Kiage