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DCI now reveals Venezuelans’ plot to interfere with presidential elections

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has released a forensic analysis report detailing the evidence gathered from three Venezuelan nationals at the center of claims of interfering with Kenya’s presidential elections.

Three Venezuelans Salvador Javier Suarez, Jose Gregorio Camargo Castellano and Joel Gustavo Rodriguez Garcia were in July arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and found in possession of election materials.

In the statement released on Friday, in response to Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition petition in the Supreme Court seeking to overturn President-Elect William Ruto’s victory, DCI confirmed that the trio had access to key election materials such as KIEMS kits and passwords of IEBC personnel.

Director of the anti-terrorism unit Joseph Kolum listed seven items recovered from the three Venezuelans and revealed details of critical information found in them.

The items include 1 TB external disc, one laptop, six flash disks, three mobile phones, one Tablet, one Simcard and one monitor. DCI said an iPhone 13 max pro and the laptop that were recovered from them were unlike any other ordinary devices as they were highly encrypted and most probably used in secured communication.

The laptop and 1TB external disc were found with an IEBC database schematic diagram, IEBC network diagram, IEBC KIEMS kit, IEBC Kiems kit deployment list, user name and passwords, local IP address configurations and virtual private network (VPN) settings.

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“It was established that the confiscated exhibits had substantial information held in the IEBC systems are in full control of foreign employees of M/S Smartmatic International Holdings B.V. and Seamless Limited who have been contracted by IEBC,” part of the report read.

“Castellano was in a position to remotely access the entire IEBC data and has the capacity to add, delete, edit or manipulate in any manner the entire IEBC system.”

A mobile phone found with Rodriguez was found with private family photos/images, private family videos, IEBC system configuration, IEBC documents in the Spanish language, Spanish calls logs, Spanish contacts and IEBC election actions plan.

The sim card found with him had Spanish call logs, messages and foreign contact. The monitor had no information stored in it.

According to the DCI, only two Kenyans working at the commission had access to the system that could also be accessed by 19 others. To confirm if there was any infiltration, the DCI recommended that the IEBC system should be audited.

In court fillings, Mr Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua allege that the 2022 presidential election was rigged way before August 9 through 21 individuals, 19 foreigners and two Kenyans, who had access to the electoral agency’s technology.

Mr Odinga and Ms Karua also claim the alleged rigging began in March 2022 through intrusion into and tampering with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s (IEBC) systems by foreign nationals.

Without giving the names of the individuals allegedly involved in the scheme, Mr Odinga and Ms Karua claim the interference resulted in manipulation and alteration of voter turnout and Kiems kit data on election day and the subsequent declaration of William Ruto as President-elect.

The petitioners state that the 21 individuals, who are not employees of the IEBC, manipulated figures and election results generated by the presiding officers in the field, thus compromising the integrity of the election.