Kindiki unearths Kenyans operating Worldcoin

Kithure Kindiki
Image: The-Star

The government has revealed who is responsible for Worldcoin's activities in Kenya and shown that it does not have the required permission to conduct business there.

Just one day after Interior CS Kithure Kindiki halted the company's operations in Kenya to allow for a legality inquiry, the information was made public.

The CS discussed the safeguards the government has put in place for the data that had already been harvested during his testimony before Parliament on Thursday.

According to Kindiki, the aforementioned organisation is not acknowledged as a legal organisation under Kenyan law.

"Preliminary investigations reveal that the entity has hired a company in Kenya called Sense Marketing to do the data capture for them in the country," the CS added.

"The local representatives of Worldcoin are Mr Emmanuel Otieno who is described to be in charge of operations and a Ms Rael Mwende who is described as the Country Manager," he said.

According to the CS, both individuals have been questioned by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) since Wednesday.

"Among the foreign nationals associated with Worldcoin, are a Mr Poitr Piwowarczyk who is on record to have entered Kenya on several occasions, the last one being in June 2023," Kindiki said.

The foreign individual, in his account, arrived in the country on June 11 and left on June 25, 2023.

"As a precautionary measure, the Immigration authorities have been directed to ensure that no persons whether Kenyan or foreign nationals associated with this entity leaves Kenya without the clearance of the Director of Criminal Investigations who is in charge of the ongoing investigations."

Investigations will also focus on any persons of interest who could reside outside of Kenya.

Kindiki claims that investigations are conducted to ascertain the reliability and validity of Worldcoin's operations, the safety and security of the data collected, and the intended purposes for which the data was collected.

An MP for Manyatta named John Mukunji asked questions, to which the CS responded.The MP was interested in finding out who would benefit from data mining as well as where the funding for participation payments originated from.

In return for the receivers' permission to have their eyes scanned, Worldcoin, which began the registration procedure on Monday, was given a reward of cryptocurrency tokens worth around Sh7,000.

Thousands of Kenyans came to the Kenyatta International Convention Centre to take advantage of the free money before the programme was stopped on Wednesday due to data privacy concerns.

"The government is not aware of the source of funds. Part of the multi-agency team mandate will be to investigate the source of the money being issued to the participants and the beneficiaries of this activity."