Kindiki: These are the Faces Behind Worldcoin Activities in Kenya

The government on Thursday unmasked the faces behind Worldcoin activities in Kenya even as it revealed the cryptocurrency firm is not licensed to operate in the country.

The revelation came just a day after Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki suspended the firm’s activities in Kenya to pave the way for a probe into the legality of its operations.

He Thursday appeared before Parliament to among other issues state the precautionary steps taken by the government on the already mined data.

“The aforesaid entity is not registered as a legal entity in Kenya.”

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki

“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.

He said both individuals have been under interrogation 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.

He said the foreigner 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 cover any persons of interest who may be outside Kenya.

Kindiki said investigations are aimed at establishing the authenticity and legality of Worldcoin’s activities, the safety and protection of the data harvested and how the harvesters intend to use the data.

He was responding to questions raised by Manyatta MP John Mukunji.

The MP had among other issues sought to know the source of the money being used to pay participants and who stands to benefit from the data mined.

Worldcoin, which commenced the registration exercise on Monday, was given an incentive of cryptocurrency tokens worth approximately Sh7,000 on the condition that the beneficiaries allowed the scanning of their eyeballs.

Thousands of Kenyans trooped to the Kenyatta International Convention Centre to cash in on the free cash before the exercise was suspended on Wednesday over data protection 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.”

He said the firm was only registered as a data controller as one compliance obligation pursuant to the Data Protection Act, 2019 and the Data Protection Registration of Data Controllers and Data Processors Regulation, 2021.

“An application for a certificate of registration only signifies that the entity has complied with sections 18 and 19 of the Act and does not endorse an entity’s compliance with the Data Protection Act or its subsidiary regulations, nor is it a valid license for organisations to operate in Kenya or authorize the operations of an entity,” the CS said.

He said the certificate only signifies that the firm is known to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner that it processes personal data of persons located in Kenya.

“Further, it does not amount to certification of the processing activities of an entity or serve as an endorsement from this Office of an entity’s compliance with other provisions of the Act or any other laws,” Kindiki said.

Kindiki on Wednesday suspended the activities of Worldcoin in Kenya but an estimated 350,000 Kenyans are reported to have already signed up since the registration started on Monday.

”What She Took From Her Mother Ni Kushuta Tu,” Prezzo Speaks About His Daughter


Related Stories