ODM leader Raila Odinga speaks to residents when he visited Kisumu on a working tour of different projects that are aimed at revamping the county’s economic base on May 11, 2019.
The ODM Leader said he was the one who warned Sheik Al Maktoum that they were being duped.
• Raila defended Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i against accusations of involvement.
• Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula had dropped Raila’s name in a leaked phone call with the Dubai-based buyer identified as Ali Zandi.
ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday broke his silence on the fake gold scandal admitting that he met the United Arab Emirates ruler Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Claiming he was the scam’s whistleblower, Raila defended Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i against accusations of involvement.
Raila said Matiang’i has no links whatsoever with the scam.
“In matters of this gold involving the Arabs (Dubai buyers), Matiang’i is as (clean) white as cotton,” Raila said.
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula had dropped the AU high representative for infrastructure’s name in a leaked phone call with the Dubai-based buyer identified as Ali Zandi.
The lawmaker also claimed President Uhuru Kenyatta was aware of plans to secure the release of the consignment.
Wetang’ula, in the recording, is heard assuring Zandi – said to be a business associate of Al Maktoum, that he had talked to Raila who in turn reached out to Uhuru to secure the release of the containers.
In a new twist to the matter under investigation by the police, Raila said he was the one who warned Sheik Al Maktoum that they were being duped.
The ODM leader said he quickly discovered the person who posed as Matiang’i in a phone call with the Dubai buyer was a fake.
Raila spoke at Isecha village in Kitutu Chache North constituency, Kisii county during the burial of David Ombati.
Dr Ombati was Jaramogi Oginga Odinga’s personal doctor and the first medical doctor from among the Gusii.
Raila was accompanied by Governor James Ongwae, Senator Sam Ongeri, EALA MP Oburu Odinga, Woman Representative Janet Ong’era, and Kitutu Chache North MP Richard Onyonka.
“I asked the Arab (Zandi) to put the purported Matiang’i on the phone and spoke to a person who said he was ready to ship the consignment to Wajir,” the ODM leader said.
Raila said the caller promised the Dubai buyer that he would store the detained gold until the buyer accepts to pay the Sh200 million bribe to secure its release.
“They claimed to be ready to transfer the consignment to Wajir where the buyer was to collect it,” he added.
“These people are crooks. They are known. Investigations must be heightened to arrest those involved,” Raila said.
The gold question has dominated Kenyan headlines for over a week after politicians seized the moment to attack the ODM leader.
Oburu hinted that Raila may run in 2022 saying he is still young and willing to continue serving the country.
“Raila has not declared his bid yet but he is still around. Nobody should speak on his behalf as he will continue being in the political scene,” the EALA MP said.
I was with the Arabs when they were called by a person claiming to be from Kenya and that they had the gold at a place where the Interior CS was.
– ODM leader Raila Odinga
The Infrastructure envoy, however, steered clear of the 2022 elections debate saying it was not the time for campaigns.
Other leaders who defended Matiang’i were senator Ongeri, Ong’era and Onyonka. Onyonka said Matiang’I should not be intimidated by impeachment threats.
Onyonka, who was until recently a member of the Tangatanga movement associated with Deputy President William Ruto, dismissed the latter’s political tours in Kisii.
He said, “Ruto will not make an impact in Kisii and Nyamira counties. He should stop his attacks on Raila.”
He (Ruto) needs to explain how he got the money he is dishing across the country. “Ruto is not Raila’s age mate. He should stop attacking him forthwith,” said Onyonka.
Two days ago, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) dismissed claims that the country’s ruler was swindled of Sh400 million in the fake gold deal.
Khalid Al Mualla told the Nation on Wednesday that Sheikh Al-Maktoum had not written to Kenya demanding the release of the gold which the cons said was detained at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
Sixteen suspects arrested over the scandal are expected in court on Monday for bail hearing following their arraignment.