Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Panic as President’s adviser goes missing

More than a month since Albert Muriuki – a deputy presidential adviser based at State House – was reported missing, investigations are yet to establish his whereabouts.

Mr Muriuki, who deputises former Mandera Central MP Abdikadir Mohammed as presidential adviser on constitutional affairs is reported to have gone missing on December 30 last year.

His mother Naomi Kathure says she received a call from her first born son on December 24, 2013, and everything seemed normal as they talked about their separate plans for Christmas Day.

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Muriuki made an appeal to his mother; he wanted a Sh50,000 loan to fund his Christmas trip to his grandfather’s home in Meru, where he planned to celebrate the day. “Casually, I told him I could not raise the amount, explaining that I had just sent his younger brother money for an air ticket from the US. I told him I could only raise between Sh5,000 and Sh10,000,” said Dr Kathure in interview with The Standard on Sunday at a Nyeri hotel.

What followed was a brief text from her son telling her to disregard the loan request since he had found a way of sorting himself out.

Muriuki, fondly referred to as “Muriu” by close relatives, later sent a merry Christmas message to his mother.

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Columbia Law School

“But what surprised me most is that despite him knowing his brother, Evans Kimathi, would be arriving after Christmas Day, he wrote to me and asked me to greet him. The message also included the words ‘Goodbye mum’, which appeared unusual to me since he has never told me goodbye,” said Dr Kathure.

“I replied to find out whether he had got the money, but the text went unanswered as did subsequent calls,” added Kathure.

“My son’s phone then went off. I was told by his colleague called Patricia Gatweri that he called her on December 30, 2013,” said the grief stricken mother.

On the same day, Kathure, a senior Nursing lecturer at Dedan Kimathi University in Nyeri, unsuccessfully tried to contact him since he was scheduled to host his cousins at his mother’s home in Nyeri town. She relocated to Nyeri after a short stint in the US, where she moved after being uprooted from her Eldoret home where she had lived for 22 years.

Muriuki got the job in the Office of the President in October last year, two years after he arrived back in the country from the US, where he was pursuing a master’s degree on International Law. Before coming back home, he had worked as an intern at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands.

He graduated from the prestigious Columbia Law School in 2011, and after his arrival in Kenya, he worked at Ahmednasir, Abdikadir and Co Advocates before he secured the State House job.

According to Gatweri, Muriuki called him on December 30, and they spoke for a while, but about nothing in particular.

“We spoke on generalities, greetings and about work, we would have spoken more were it not for the fact that I was busy in the kitchen as I prepared to leave the house,” said Gatweri.

She described Muriuki as a jovial person before he left for the US where he did his master’s degree but as reserved when he returned to the country.

Reserved and quiet

“I grew up with him and so I knew him as a jovial person, but when he came back after about four years in the US, he was reserved and quiet and therefore it was difficult to understand what was in his mind at most times,” said Gatweri.

Interestingly, on the same December 30, Muriuki allegedly visited Kalee Cafe in Nairobi, which is owned by his uncle (Kathure’s brother), a day after his mother had sent a relative to check on Muriuki’s residence at Kirinyaga Cooperative flats in Westlands, where the security guards said they had last seen him on December 24.

“Workers at Kalee Cafe told me that Muriuki came and asked if I had showed up at the cafe, they say he was smartly dressed and since then he has not been seen,” said the mother.

Her fears were compounded when the presidential adviser failed to report back to work at State House, Nairobi on January 8.

“I was now more worried, I contacted some of his colleagues and they told me he was not at his work place. Two days later, I asked my nephews, Mwenda Kigunda and Andrew to break into his house and check whether Muriuki could be inside,” she said.

Hospitals and mortuaries

“They only found his identity card, bank cards, smart phone, laptop and an appointment letter to his State House job on his bed. I then asked them to make a report of a missing person at Central Police Station in Nairobi,” she added.

The family realised that Muriuki’s passport was missing, and they hence conducted a search with the Immigration department, but were informed that no such person had travelled out of the country. They later discovered that the passport was placed under custody of another lawyer, Ms C Njuguna, alongside his other academic credentials.

“What went through my mind later is that he could have left the house and went to commit suicide elsewhere, or could even have been abducted. Together with other family members we have made endless trips to hospitals and mortuaries,” she said.

She approached Abdikadir for help. “I respect Abdikadir because he encouraged me and helped me a lot, especially in meeting CID director Ndegwa Muhoro and Interior Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo, all who took my matter seriously. Muhoro instructed his officers to investigate the matter and I recorded statements with him,” said Kathure.

Kathure is only left to wonder where her son disappeared to and why.

“I am personally disturbed. Since his disappearance, I became confused. I do not concentrate. I fall sick time and again. I am totally traumatised,” she said.

She says she has been calling the police almost on a daily basis while expecting a positive remark but all in vain.

“I am requesting anybody with information about him to help me. I am suffering, and if he is somewhere I request him to get back to us because we love him and are in agony,” she said.

Abdikadir said he had received the report of Muruiki’s disappearance and that the CID was handling the matter.

“The young man was working in our office and I heard from the mother that he has not been seen at home, the last time I saw him was during the festive season,” said Abdikadir.

The Central Police Station in Nairobi OCPD Senior Superintendent of Police, Patrick Oduma said he was not aware of the case though there were many such cases reported in the police station.

“We receive so many such cases. I will look into it to find out if it was reported to the police station,” said Mr Oduma.

– The Standard

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