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3 Chinese nationals in custody for allegedly defrauding contractor Sh320M

Three Chinese nationals were on Monday arrested over allegations of defrauding a local contractor of Sh320 million in a botched business transaction.

The suspects identified as Le Lei, Le Chuan Chen and Qi Zhao Zin were arrested after a complaint was lodged by Ederman Properties Kenya.

According to Mwingi Sub-county Police Commander Peter Mutuma, the suspects had been contracted to supply the firm with a manufacturing machine worth Sh320 million to the company owned by their compatriot.

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The firm known for manufacturing gypsum ceiling boards is said to have paid the suspects the full amount in 2020 but they delivered substandard equipment before going into hiding.

The police boss said the suspects will be arraigned in court to face charges of conspiracy to defraud and obtaining money by false pretence once a Chinese interpreter is available on Wednesday.

The signing of the agreement between the three and Ederman Properties Kenya shows that the three ran a company by the name Teng Fei.

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According to Ederman Ltd Managing Director Zeyun Yang, the trio delivered substandard equipment which didn’t much the specification they were given by the company, leading to a disagreement.

He claimed that the suspects wanted to escape liability by giving false information to the Chinese Embassy and police.

Ederman Properties Kenya has been manufacturing gypsum ceiling boards at Mutwangombe along the Mwingi-Garissa highway since 2012.

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In October, five Chinese nationals were arrested with security equipment after claiming to be setting up a security company but lacked the proper visas.

The arrest was given an unusually high-profile announcement for an apparent immigration violation, where there has been some public tension over the arrival of a large number of Chinese labourers as China increases its investment.

The government said police and immigration officers had arrested four Chinese men and one woman, and recovered military and security gear including uniforms, walkie-talkies and tear gas canisters in Nairobi’s upscale Lavington area before dawn.

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The suspects “claimed they were planning to open a security firm but preliminary investigations show that they have no work permits; all of them are in the country on tourist visas,” a government statement said.

Chinese contractors are implementing infrastructure projects in Kenya mainly in transportation. Some Kenyans complain on social media that the authorities do not do enough to enforce immigration laws and ensure firms hire Kenyan workers.

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