Four charged in Sh21m fake gold scandal

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020 07:00 |
Gold scandal.

A director with a private company and three of his employees have been charged with obtaining  Sh21.2 million from a foreigner in pretex of selling him gold. 

Seth Okute, a director of Lux Cargo Group (K) and Euro Pacific Cargo Ltd is jointly charged alongside Samuel Muchemi, Victor Juma and Robert Terer. 

They all denied fraud charges before Kiambu Chief Magistrate Patrriciah Gichohi, who ordered Okute to be released on Sh2 million cash bail or Sh5 million bond with surety of similar amount, the rest were released on Sh400,000 cash bail or bond of Sh1 million each, pending the mention of the case on October 14. 

Prosecution alleges that between January 22 and September 20 in Nairobi, the accused, jointly with others not before court conspired to defraud Yusuf Usman Anto, a Nigerian businessman of $200,000 (Sh21.2 million) by use of  fraudulent tricks.

They are said to have prepared fake Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) invitation letter for viewing gold, fake Air France Waybill No. 057-19335514 and obtaining fake gold from Ivory Coast. 

They falsely pretended that they were carrying out a genuine cleaning and forwarding business.

They are also accused of  obtaining the same money by falsely pretending that they were in a position to clear a consignment of gold weighing 230 kilogrammes at KRA customs Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) offices for Yusuf Usman Anto.

Earlier, the magistrate had allowed the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti, seven more days to continue detaining Muchemi, Juma and Terer at Muthaiga police station to enable detectives complete investigation into the fake gold scandal.

 This followed a sworn affidavit by detective  inspector Felix Banzi,  based at DCI headquarters, saying he is investigating a case of conspiracy to defraud and obtaining money by false pretences.

In his application, Banzi told court that the suspects were involved in a transnational crime.

Final settlement

He said that an agreement was made and the complainant paid half the total value as they agreed that the final settlement would be made when the consignment reaches the Nigerian border.

The  court heard that as the complainant was waiting for the consignment at the Nigerian border, after two to three days, the supplier informed him that they had entered the neighbouring country of Benin Republic and were at Cotonou City where he went and met the supplier.

“While in Cotonou  the complainant was advised that  from that city it was easier to take the consignment directly to Dubia, and therefore he was asked to pay $324,348 for documentation which he paid,” said Banzi.

Banzi further narrated to the  court that Usman was informed that there was no aircraft for Emirates and was given an alternative to board from Côte d’Ivoire where both the complainant and the supplier flew to Abijan and paid for change of documentation.

He said that after the payment, Usmanwas informed to travel to Dubai to wait for the consignment as the documentation was taking a little longer.

Banzi told court that while in Dubai, the complainant was further informed that the consignment had been shipped to Kenya where the cargo was to be reconnected to a Dubai flight.

“There was further payment that was to be made for other documentation that would allow the consignment to leave Kenya to Dubai,” said the detective.

He said that when the complainant arrived in Kenya, he met the three suspects and the directors of EUropacific Cargo Limited and Lux Cargo Limited (Okute, who is still at large) who informed him to pay fee for documentation totalling to $200,000 and was given a fake Air France way bill.

Whole transaction

Banzi said that after payment, the complainant realised that the whole transaction was a con game and in fact there was no gold that was being consigned.

Court was also informed that  in the whole scam, the complainant had been defrauded a sum of $3,229,062.61 of which he was defrauded $200,000 in Kenya.

Usman later reported the matter at DCI headquarters on September 24. 

Some of the suspects were arrested while others are still being being pursued.

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