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Court hands Sh1 billion fake gold scam suspects temporary freedom

By Richard Munguti September 18th, 2023 3 min read

Twelve of 13 suspects including a detective attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) who were arrested over an alleged Sh1billion fake gold deal have each been freed on a Sh100,000 cash bail.

The suspects who are under investigation for defrauding a Tunisia businessman at Garden City estate in Nairobi were freed by Milimani law courts senior magistrate Gilbert Shikwe.

Only the Liberian national Ronald Johnson will remain in custody since he has no passport.

In a ruling on September 13, 2023, Shikwe said no compelling reasons were advanced by the prosecution to warrant the suspects be denied bail the placed in custody for 21 days.

However, the magistrate directed the suspects to continue liasing with the investigating officer until investigations are completed.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) had earlier through Inspector Nicholas Njoroge sought to have the suspects detained at Kilimani police station for three weeks to enable police conclude the probe into the matter

Other suspects arrested during the police crackdown were Police Constable Festo Akula Wamwayi, David Walumoli Misiko, Lenace Wakachuka, Rahma Abdi Hassan, Joseph Gikonyo, Stephen Robert Andere, Alice Kavata, Flevian Omwoyo, Ian Wekesa Milongo, Duncan Muchai Ndichu and Nabel Suleiman.

In an affidavit filed in court, Njoroge told the court the suspects are being investigated for conspiracy to commit a felony, being in possession of a firearm and ammunitions without license and being in possession of forged bank notes.

The suspects are said to have hatched a scheme on diverse dates between August 1, 2023 and September 8, 2023 to defrauded the complainant Sh1bn over the sale of non existent gold.

Njoroge informed the court the complainant was contacted from Tunisia by one Joseph Lendrix Waswa who is a Director at Melpa Limited, claiming he had a gold consignment available for sale valued at a billion shillings at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi.

The court heard that the complainant therefore travelled from Tunisia and arrived in Nairobi on September 1, 2023 where he was received by Waswa and his group, then hosted at Ngara, a Nairobi suburb, while waiting to be shown the gold consignment.

“Waswa informed the complainant to pay for the gold consignment but the foreign trader insisted on being shown the consignment before making any payment,” officer Njoroge stated in the affidavit.

Following the request, the complainant detected the suspects were not genuine and alerted the police who kept vigil on the complainant movement and communication with the suspects

On September 7, 2023, the suspects met with the complainant within Ngara and took the complainant to a residential house LR NO. 4894/152 at Garden estate.

The police officer trailed the suspects and managed to arrest them while some escaped by climbing over the perimeter wall to evade arrest.

“Most of the metal boxes contained sand and pieces of stones and not gold consignment as alleged by the respondents,” the officer stated

He added that police also recovered several mobile phones used to defraud unsuspecting clients belonging to the suspects at the house.

Further, Constable Festo Akula Wamwayi who is stationed at Kisasi in Kitui County was arrested at the house after he went to the rescue of the suspects upon arrest.

‘A firearm make CESKA SCZ85B serial number H1035 with a magazine loaded with 16 rounds of ammunition of 9mm and a hand cuff serial number 331564 was recovered inside, one motor vehicle registration number KBK 510H make Nissan sunny silver in colour belonging to the officer Wamwayi and which we have established it is not a police firearm,” Njoroge said.

The court heard that DCI detectives also recovered a military jungle uniform from the car belonging to Wamwayi.

The prosecution said Che and Johnson who are foreigners from Cameroon and Liberia respectively upon arrest could not produce their valid travel, passport, visas, work permit documents to police thus need to further investigate them and their involvement in criminal activities within Kenyan jurisdiction.

Njoroge stated they have detained eight motor vehicles registration numbers KBK 510H, KDD 263F, KDK 771N, KDK 030H KDL 915A, KCV 694F KDL 180R and KDL 348 that were reportedly used by the suspects during the commission of the offences and are yet to obtain details of the registered owners from National transport and safety Authority.

Opposing their plea to detain the suspects lawyers Ashioya and Amollo told the court the prosecution did not table compelling reasons to have them stay in custody.

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