Suspect in court over conning Akashas Sh5m

Friday, September 20th, 2019 00:00 |

The family of slain drug baron Ibrahim Akasha has lost millions of shillings to conmen who posed as State House officials who could help them secure the return of their sons from US courts to face trial in Kenya.

The family is reported to have fallen into the hands of the fraudsters last year as they attempted to stop the trial of Ibrahim Akasha and Batkash Akasha who were extradited to face charges of drug trafficking in the US in 2017.

A group of six suspected conmen impersonated President Uhuru Kenyatta and former US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger pretending to negotiate with President Donald Trump officials on the release of the duo. 

Impersonate Uhuru

In a scenario similar to that of Sameer Africa chairman Naushad Merali who is said to have lost Sh10 million to con men who impersonated Uhuru, the fraudsters asked for money to cater for accommodation and air ticket for government officials who would be going to US to negotiate the release and repatriation of Ibrahim and Baktash back home. 

The suspect mimicking Uhuru’s voice is said to have been so good that the mother and wife of Baktash were convinced they were dealing with the President.

Yesterday, one of the six men who is alleged to have pocketed about Sh5 million to facilitate the return of the Akasha brothers was charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony and fraud.

Chris Mwai appeared before Shanzu resident magistrate David Odhiambo and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

He was released on a bond of Sh2 million with an alternative of Sh1 million cash bail.

The Akasha brothers alongside two foreigners were extradited to the US in January 2017 to face drug trafficking charges. Baktash has since been jailed to 25 years while his younger brother is scheduled to be sentenced on November 8.

The charges against Mwai read that on diverse dates between October 9 and November 15 last year at unknown place within the country, with others not before court, he conspired to commit a felony by obtaining Sh5,090,000 from Najma Juma, the wife of Baktash.

The court was told that, the accused, who posed as a State House agent, pretended to be carrying out genuine negotiations on bringing the Akasha brothers back so that they can face the drug charges in the local courts. 

The matter will be mentioned on November 14 for pretrial purposes.

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