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Main suspect in Sh1 billion gold scam case falls ill on court date

By Richard Munguti September 25th, 2023 3 min read

A Nairobi court has ordered the main suspect in a Sh 1 billion gold scam deal to appear and take a plea on charges of being in possession of fake currency.

Joseph Lendrix Waswa, a self-styled businessman will appear on October 9, 2023, to plead to charges of possession of forged bank notes of USD 634,178 equivalent to Sh 93,477,837.

Milimani Chief Magistrate Susan Shitubi ordered Waswa to appear in person before her to answer the criminal charges.

Waswa who police say is the mastermind of the recent fake gold scam scandal involving a Tunisia national was said to be indisposed.

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The suspect is expected to battle the charges after recording a statement on September 21, 2023, at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations  (DCI) headquarters in Nairobi.

When his case was called out for plea-taking by the court clerk, Waswa’s lawyer June Ashioya informed the magistrate the accused was not present in court as he was unwell.

The lawyer pleaded with the court to differ the plea taking for two weeks.

“The DCI recorded his (Waswa) statement on Thursday and he became unwell thereafter and was taken to Nairobi hospital where he was treated and given 3 days of bed rest. He again saw his doctor this morning, was treated, and was ordered to have two-week bed rest. In view of the circumstances we kindly urge the court to defer the charge for 14 days, we will be able to present himself on a date given by the court to take his plea,” Ashioya stated.

The court ordered Waswa to present himself in person on October 9, 2023, to answer to the charge leveled against him by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

She further directed Waswa to remain on Sh 200,000 anticipatory bail granted by the High Court on September 19, 2023.

According to a charge sheet filed in court, Waswa is accused that on September 7, 2023, at Villa Mawe in Garden estate within Nairobi County, jointly with others not before court without lawful authority or excuse had in his possession 634,178 forged USD currency notes for one hundred denomination knowing them to be forged.

His prosecution comes days after thirteen suspects, including a DCI officer Festo Akula Wamwayi were paraded in court by detectives seeking orders to detain them for 21 days to enable them to complete investigations.

The fake money was reportedly recovered at his house by DCI detectives during the arrest of the thirteen suspects after a Tunusia businessman Bilel Arfaoul reported to the police how Waswa and the Director of Melpa Limited namely Samuel Maina Wakaba attempted to defraud him Sh 1 billion in a fake gold scam deal.

Waswa is alleged to have called the Tunisia trader informing him he had a consignment of gold valued at one billion shillings that he wanted to sell.

The investigating officer Nicholas Njoroge claims Waswa and his accomplices told the foreigner the consignment was being held at a warehouse at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi.

The complainant consequently travelled from Tunisia and arrived at the JKIA on September 1, 2023, where he was allegedly received by businessman Waswa and his group and hosted at the Ngara area in Nairobi waiting to be shown the gold consignment.

Waswa has previously hit headlines for the wrong reasons.

In 2014, he was arrested and charged with allegedly killing Mitch Kibiti, son to (former) Bungoma County Education Chief Officer David Kibiti, after a disagreement at his Etonia Club in Kimilili.

In 2015, he caused drama at the Bungoma Law courts after showing up in court accompanied by 10 ‘bodyguards’.

The incident forced officers from the Flying Squad to intervene, arresting all the 10 bodyguards who were later released.

In February 2019, Waswa and six others were arrested and charged with impersonating President Uhuru Kenyatta’s voice and conning Sameer Africa chairman Naushad Merali Sh10 million