Godwins Agutu: Anti-graft crusader or fraudster? - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 2 October 2020

Godwins Agutu: Anti-graft crusader or fraudster?

 

When Godwins Agutu appeared on NTV's investigative expose on the alleged Covid-19 scandal in July, his eloquence and charisma won the hearts of many.

He emerged as an expert witness with the title of director of Network Action Against Corruption (NAAC), an organisation that describes itself as doing investigations on corruption cases and forwarding files to the DPP for prosecution.

According to the NAAC website, it “became fully operational in 2019". It describes itself as working with “agencies, national investigation bureaus, the EACC, the DCI and the DPP and units working on corruption-related issues.”

“NAAC is responsible for investigations and preventing corruption, economic crimes and educating the public on the dangers of corruption.”

It claims that after doing its investigations, it forwards the cases for prosecution. “NAAC receives funding in aid of its operation and has full-time staff, employees on contract and researchers, among others,” the site reads.

But as soon as his image appeared on TV screens, conversations about his integrity emerged on social media platforms. Multiple staff IDs bearing his name and image were shared, with claims that he works for the National Intelligence Service, the DCI, the EACC and KRA, among other organisations.

Other evidence-free claims suggested that he had been involved in a robbery and/or fraudulent incidents. 

Posters of his political activities, including one that showed he was to run for governor in Nairobi, also emerged. 

On Thursday, DCI chief George Kinoti announced that Agutu alongside two others — Alex Mutua and Ken Kimathi — had been arrested on Wednesday evening for fraud. 

They have been accused of abducting the director of Hi-tech Enterprise while claiming to be part of a multi-disciplinary team from the EACC and KRA, hence able to kill a tax evasion case. They allegedly demanded a Sh2 million bribe to complete the job.

Using a government vehicle and another, they stormed the victim’s office on September 26 where they picked his laptop and left. The vehicle with plate number GKB 070B has been established to belong to the Judiciary.

They came again on September 29 and demanded the bribe but the victim was unable to raise the money, and so they allegedly forced him into the vehicle and drove off to Lutheran House along Nyerere Road.

NAAC offices are located at Lutheran House along Nyerere road. The victim was then forced to contact his family members to get the amount but they only managed to raise Sh500,000.

The suspects then escorted him to his house in Westlands where they took the cash. Kinoti said the three were working with three other KRA officers who are still at large.

Of even more interest is the fact that Alex Mutuku, Agutu's co-accused, has made a name as a sophisticated con artist specialising in cyber-fraud. 

In 2017, he was linked to the hacking of KRA systems and was said to have wired off Sh4 billion from the authority's coffers.

The University of Nairobi information systems graduate is also battling other cases in which, alongside eight others, he is accused of hacking and stealing from state agencies, including the NSTA and the IEBC, as well as financial institutions. 

For example, Mutuku, together with another person, was in 2015 accused of hacking NIC Bank system and stealing Sh2.8 million.

Reports suggest they also threatened the bank with exposure to ransomware if it did not pay them Sh6.2 million in bitcoins, the virtual currency that is traded online and has at times been used by criminals to launder money.

So, are Agutu and Mutuku related by way of their activities? If yes, this could lift the lid on the conduct of the self-proclaimed anti-corruption lobbyist. 

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