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Court allows businesswoman Mary Wambui to fly to Turkey as prosecution opposes

By John Mwaura

A court has allowed businesswoman and close associate of Deputy President William Ruto, Mary Wambui Mungai (pictured with Ruto), to travel to Turkey.

The Anti-Corruption Court in Nairobi allowed her to travel to Turkey after she filed an application requesting to be allowed to travel for business purposes.

Chief Magistrate Felix Kombo granted her prayers but under one condition-that she provides a surety.

In her application, she asserted she would incur hefty business losses if not allowed to travel to Turkey.

She said she was required to travel to Turkey for a pre-inspection and approval of furniture prototypes in satisfaction of the terms of a contract for manufacture and supply of hotel furniture between Glee Hotel ltd, a company in which she is the principal director and shareholder and Sagist Group, a hotel furniture factory in Istanbul, Turkey.

But the prosecution opposed the magistrate’s directive, arguing she was a flight risk. 

On December 7, a multi-agency team was dispatched to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to track down Mungai and her daughter, who were considered fugitives.

The pair was accused of contempt of court after failing to honour court summons and failing to appear in court to take a plea in a Ksh2.2 billion tax evasion case.

Detectives had tracked the two to Weston Hotel, which is owned by the Deputy President.

But they beat the police dragnet only to surrender a few hours later.

In court, Francis Barasa, an officer attached to DCI, argued Wambui has vast business interest abroad and is capable of living a comfortable life abroad and hence should not be allowed to travel.

Late last year, a business associate of Ruto, Turkish National Harun Aydin was deported.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said Aydin was deported over money-laundering links and illegal movement into and out of Kenya.

Appearing before the National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security, Matiang’i said an analysis of Aydin’s frequent movements into and out of the country, indicated he had close links with foreigners involved in money-laundering.

“The Turkish national applied for an investor’s work permit Class G on November 24, 2020,” said Matiang’i.

According to the minister, Class G work permit allows one to solely operate within Kenya, and under the Kenyan law.

Aydin received the permit on June 25, 2021, allowing him to run Unit 2HA Investment Energy Africa Limited, a firm dealing in energy-related business.

Matiang’i saida subsequent examination of Aydin’s work permit documents indicated he was yet to receive formal contract that allows him the freedom to operate uninterrupted.

According to the minister, Aydin’s “questionable” permit and dealings were discovered when the State monitored his frequent trips into and outside Kenya.

The CS said the Kenyan Government liaised with security agencies in the countries that Aydin visited, and an alleged link to money-laundering was established.

The minister said Kenya and the nations the Turkish national visited signed a security and intelligence information sharing agreement that allows the foreign countries to flag a person from Kenya who is breaching laws in those countries.

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