DCI under fire for failing to arrest gold scandal suspect

Monday, August 9th, 2021 00:00 |
Suspect in the Sh54 million fake gold fraud Jared Otieno when he appeared in court in the past. Photo/PD/File

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has been criticized by a court for failing to arrest and prosecute a prime suspect in a case in which there was an attempt to defraud a foreigner of Sh54.1 million in a fake gold scam.

Milimani Court Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi castigated the George Kinoti-led agency for failing to arrest and charge suspected fake gold dealer Jared Otieno, alias Jared Smith Mackenzie Otieno.

Andayi wondered why the DCI was reluctant to arrest Otieno, despite what he said was overwhelming evidence produced in court that point at him as one of the main masterminds of the scheme.

“Jared Otieno is still roaming around town freely because the police have failed to arrest him since 2015 when this case was first filed in court.

One wonders whether this is as a result of conspiracy to defeat justice,” said the magistrate.

Blamed police 

While delivering a sentence against Otieno’s co-suspect Kevin Obia, alias Kevin Kleigh on Friday, Andayi questioned why the DCI failed to arrest the principal suspect in the case despite having been identified to by the complainant Christian Gallati, an Australian businessman on May 18, 2015 at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi.

He fined Obia Sh300,000 or one year in jail, for attempting to defraud Gallati.

Andayi said he had found Obia guilty of the offence of attempting to defraud Gallati by selling him fake gold.

“I am fully satisfied that the prosecution proved the charge against the accused of attempting to defrauded Euro 570,000 (Sh54.1million) on May 18, 2015 claiming he was in a position to sell him 13kg of gold at the Hilton Hotel, Nairobi from the complainant,” Andayi ruled.

Andayi faulted DCI officers for failing to take any action against Otieno.

“I wonder why the police, especially the investigating officer, has never arrested Jared Otieno alias Jared Smith Mackenzie Otieno since 2015 and charged him with the offences of obtaining money by false pretences,” Andayi said.

The court noted that Otieno was at the centre of the gold deal scam as he signed the agreement for the sale of the 7kgs of gold bars and received Sh13.7 million in Euros from the complainant.

The magistrate said after receiving the Sh13.7 million from the complainant, Otieno shared the money with Obia at the premises of his company.

He added that a few days later, Otieno and Obia attempted to defraud the same foreigner another Sh54.1 million.

Andayi further blamed the police for failing to charge Gallati for engaging in business in the country without a work permit.

“The officers allow foreigners to conduct business here without a work permit and when they are defrauded that is when the officers take action against those who are alleged to have obtained money from them,” he stated.

The magistrate, however, acquitted Obia, off the charge of obtaining Sh13.7 million while pretending that he would sell Gallati 7kgs of gold, for lack of sufficient evidence.

During his sentencing, Obia insisted he had never engaged in illegal gold business.

“I urge the court to grant me a non-custodial sentence as I have never handled gold bars neither am I in the gold business,”Obia said.

Otieno first came into the public limelight when he held Sh15 million pre-wedding party for his would-be wife at her parents’ home in Meru.

In 2019, Otieno was back in news when he was charged with obtaining Sh300 million from Sounthorn Chathavong, a director of Simmoung Group of Companies, claiming that he would sell him gold. The case is still pending in court.

During investigations into the case, detectives from DCI and Assets Recovery Agency seized Otieno’s Porsche worth Sh30 million alongside a custom-made 2018 Bentley Continental GT worth Sh47 million.

He is also facing another case where he is charged with obtaining over Sh23 million from another foreign businessman by falsely pretending that he could sell him gold.

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