A leaked audio in the Star’s possession has put Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula at the heart of the multi-million shilling fake gold scandal.
Detectives, meanwhile, revealed that the Ford Kenya leader was a person of interest.
In the audio conversation, Wetang’ula dropped the names of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga to assure a Dubai gold investor believed to be Ali Zandi that their detained consignment would be released.
Wetang’ula did not respond to repeated inquiries on Friday by the Star. He was said to be planning to fly out of the country on Friday night on official duty.
Wetang’ula assured Zandi, a business associate of United Arab Emirates ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, that he had talked to Raila who in turn reached out to Uhuru to secure the release of the pricey containers.
“I am a hundred per cent sure there is no problem and tell Sheikh not to panic. We are finishing this matter and we will come and toast together,” Wetang’ula assured Zandi.
The conversation begins with an angry Zandi telling the Senator that the Sheikh had run out of patience, yet the players including Wetang’ula himself had pocketed their share to facilitate the release of the gold.
From the conversation, it also emerges that flamboyant businessman Zaheer Jhanda claimed to have been picked as a representative of “Interior CS Fred Matiang’i”.
“He [fake Matiangi] took the money, you [Wetang’ula] took the money. What else are you talking about?” an angry Zandi asked.
It is unclear, however, how much money Wetang’ula allegedly received as he is overheard disputing in the audio an undisclosed figure sent to him.
“We will have to sit down and discuss this issue of money because the amount of money I have seen is not the amount of money you are talking about,” Wetang’ula says.
In an ironical twist, Wetang’ula dropped Raila’s name, yet he has blasted the Opposition leader as a despot who allegedly orchestrated his removal as Senate Minority leader.
“The manner in which Raila runs his party (ODM) is like a Gestapo, nothing happens without his concession… and he tried extending those dictatorial tendencies into the coalition (Nasa), of being very intolerant to others’ opinion and being very impatient when someone is explaining something,” Wetang’ula once said of Raila.
However, in his conversation about gold, Wetang’ula paints Raila as a man of influence, who has the President’s ear.
Wetang’ula: “How are you?”
Zandi: “Not very good. I don’t know how to answer you.”
Wetang’ula: “No, something is happening?”
Zandi: “What is going on?”
Wetang’ ula: “Raila met with the head of state on this matter and explained to him and the head of state has called the minister concerned [Interior CS Fred Matiang’i] and he is seeing him tomorrow. He is my neighbour and I have seen him this morning and he has told me the head of state has been away in Mauritius for a week. He will see him tomorrow and he says hopefully before the end of the week, we will be able to settle this matter once and for all.”
At this point, according to the audio in possession of the Star, a pessimistic Zandi asks Wetang’ula why he is roping in other players, yet Matiang’i was allegedly in control.
Zandi: “Why are you bringing in other people?”
Wetang’ula: “Let me tell you what is happening. Since Raila brought this matter to the attention of the boss [Uhuru], let him also go and explain to him what has been done so far, then he will communicate to you.”
Wetang’ula assures Zandi that the Raila and Uhuru meeting will undoubtedly unlock the stalemate and allow the gold consignment to be airlifted to Dubai.
Zandi: “Who will communicate it to me?”
Wetang’ula: “Through either Raila’s people or through Zaheer [Jhanda] to send your vessel to come and pick the items. So it is okay.”
From the beginning, Zandi had warned Wetang’ula, he of the “noisy and messy divorce” that the gold matter could turn catastrophic if not well handled.
“Believe me, any movement will be a disaster for all of you and myself included,” he warned.
– The Star