Journalist Baraza’s Statement Following Issuance of Arrest Warrant by ICC
Following the new developments in the ICC case, where an arrest warrant has been issued against journalist Walter Barasa. We would like to resend the statement that he had released to the media last week over the impending arrest warrant. I believe the statement will be of help as he has been advised by his lawyers not to make any further statement in the meantime.
STATEMENT BY WALTER BARASA
My full names are Walter Barasa. I am a journalist. I joined the journalism profession in 1985 after finishing my diploma course. I have worked as a journalist for 18 years most of it with the Nation newspaper and then the People daily.
Between 1st and 5th December 2012 I was called by somebody who introduced himself to me as an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigator. He introduced himself as Paul Irani. He informed me that he had been given my name and phone number by somebody who was known to me.
He further informed me that he was an ICC investigator and wanted to meet him in Nairobi. He told me to hire a taxi from Eldoret to Nairobi and that he would pay for the taxi once I arrived in Nairobi because the matter he wanted us to discuss was urgent. He paid Ksh 30,000 to the taxi owner upon arrival in Nairobi.
We met at the Westgate Mall in Westlands. He was with another investigator called Ule. I introduced myself. He told me that he wanted me to help them in connection with a lady in Kiambaa and that she was a witness in a case which was earlier conducted in Nakuru. He told me I was a good man and that I should get the lady to confirm what she had told him on phone because he could not travel to Eldoret which he was told was hostile.
He bought a cellphone for me with an Airtel line to take to the lady. I went and met the lady who confirmed that she had talked with Paul Irani. I later confirmed to Irani that I had met the lady. He requested me to get the lady a temporary passport to enable her go to Uganda for interrogation and statement recording.
When the lady came back she told me that she had been a worker at a certain politicians home and that the investigators had told her to say that she was a cook and that she seen planning meetings being held at the politicians home and had cooked for youths and served them with food as they planned to attack the Kiambaa church.
I asked her whether that was actually true but she told me that it was not true because during the time she was employed by the politician she was actually working as a casual labourer planting tree seedlings and sometimes used to harvest maize.
She also told me that she had left that employment five years before but that she had been forced to say that she was cooking and serving food during the period the violence occurred. I encouraged her to confirm to whether she was ready to defend that position. I asked her how as a Kikuyu she could be allowed to get into a planning meeting and cook and serve food to people who were going to kill her relatives. She told me that she had been told to say that so that the case would be strong.
I warned her that she faced the risk of prosecution if it turned out that she was lying. We ended our conversation and she told me that Paul had sent her to tell me to get her a passport. The investigators sent her a total of Ksh 45,500 and a sum of Ksh 6,000 for facilitation making a total of Ksh 51,500 which the lady (536) withdrew and gave me.
We got the passports and she and her family crossed over to Uganda. We cut off communication for some time until I received a call from the lady using a Ugandan number. She told me that her children were not going to school and that life had become very difficult contrary to what she was promised and her husband was very bitter and wanted them to come back to the country.
She told me she did not want to continue with the case and wanted to come back. I later met Paul Irani at Topelli restaurant near Nairobi hospital and informed him about the ladies complaints and warned him that the lady had threatened to abandon the cause. He promised to address the issue. The lady stopped calling me for some time until a time when she called me on a Burundian number. That is when I learnt that she had been moved to Burundi. She was still complaining of poor treatment. She insisted that since I was the one she knew I should assist her get out of Burundi because she did not have money to get her back in the country.
Communication between us went off again and then a week later she called me from a phone whose code was +423 which is the code for DR Congo with the same complaint. She repeated the same thing that she was fed up and wanted me to assist her and her family back. I told her I did not have money but if I get money I could assist her but in the event that I could not manage she had a right to protest, disclose the truth and ask whoever was in charge to return her into the country.
The calls were so many but when I refused to pick she wrote me numerous text messages which I wish to give you where she was stating the same thing. I wish to read you some of the messages. During the course of my acquaintance with Paul Irani I started developing great doubts on the competence of the Office of the Prosecutors (OTP) investigations. I met the investigators severally at various meetings and raised some of these issues:-
i) At one meeting I challenged Paul and one Silvano from Burkina Faso if they would be able to succeed in establishing the truth when they were carrying out armchair investigations in a hotel on the basis of information from people who were known gold diggers roaming the streets of Eldoret after he showed me a list of the names he had lined up as his sources of information and investigation.
ii) I also reminded him that witness 536 had confided in me she was not in the employment of the politician she was alleging she was working for at the time and she had not been a cook. I told him that the same case had been dismissed by the court in Nakuru. He dismissed my concerns and told me to leave him alone.
He tried sending me to find other individuals whose names he gave me. I contacted some of them. I met some of them but I told him that those people were unreliable.
He flew back sometime in February or March this year then on 13th September this year he contacted me on phone and via email asking me to meet him urgently because my life was in danger and he wanted me to leave the country immediately. He suggested that he meets me at The Hague, Uganda or Nairobi as the last option. I agreed to go to Nairobi on 15th September 2013 for the meeting. The email he wrote to me is attached and I wish to read parts of it. I met him with another white man at Topelli restaurant. I expected a cordial meeting but when I arrived at the meeting Paul Irani ordered me to dismantle all my phones. I accepted to do so after quarrelling for over 10 minutes.
Immediately he told me that he had two options for me:-
i) He told me that he knew that I had been working with the Deputy President to coerce and compromise witnesses and that I should cooperate with him and the prosecution and accept to implicate the Deputy President after which we would fly out of the country with him that night because my life was in danger.
ii) Alternatively he was going to engineer and have a warrant of arrest be issued against me and that I could be jailed for five years. But that as a friend he did not want to be jailed and that the best option was for me to implicate the Deputy President.
I was greatly infuriated by these suggestions. I told him that I did not remember the last time I met William Ruto and I told him if I ever met and spoke with Ruto it was way back in 2007 but from then and up to the time I was meeting him I had not met him but he retorted that I had met him after he came from Japan. I told him that those were lies, I could not accept those lies and that he should go ahead and cause the warrants to be issued. I told him that I was ready to stand in any court to refute those lies.
He told me that I was becoming difficult and he was going to arrest me right away. I told him to dare arrest me. I rose from my chair picked my bag and went to the washrooms but when I came out the two called me back. I was extremely fearful and in order to get away from them, I told them that I would get back to them. They gave me Ksh 7,200 for accommodation and transport. They suggested that after I had considered he options I should escape with them to Uganda. I never contacted them again.
I have now heard rumours, which the prosecution should confirm or deny that a warrant of arrest has been issued against me over an alleged interference/prevention of witness number 536 from attending court.
Am ready and prepared to defend myself against these allegations, which are false. I have special knowledge of all the investigators machinations relating to the recruitment of this witness 536 and others and I will not be blackmailed to tell lies. I am aware of the activities of the investigators and what they are doing now and have done in the past.
I respect the court, I respect the rights of the accused persons to a fair hearing, and the victims right to get justice but I do not accept coercion and unorthodox means of implicating accused persons and conducting investigations to attain an unjust end.
I wish to inform you that the conversation of 15th September 2013 was recorded by Irani and I challenge him to produce the entire unedited clip to the court and all concerned. I also recorded parts of the proceedings which I am ready to produce to prove what I am saying.
I have already instructed my advocate Mr Nick Kaufmann to appear for me and bring the above matters to the attention of the court. I attach here to a letter from my advocate.