Eight Kenyans and two foreign nationals facing allegations of defrauding two American citizens of USD159,000 (Ksh19,859,100) in a fake gold scam deal have been released on a cash bail of Ksh100,000 pending investigations by the DCI.
In a ruling rendered by, Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Robinson Ondieki released the ten suspects allegedly linked to an international fake gold syndicate on bail after rejecting the DCI's request to continue detaining them at Kamukunji police station pending completion of investigations.
"l find no compelling reasons offered by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to warrant the grant of the custodial orders sought. I find that no evidence has been adduced to show the suspects will interfere with witnesses including the complainants in the matter. The application is rejected and each suspect herein is released on bail of Ksh100,000 each plus one contact person each for the eight Kenyans. For the two foreigners l order each to avail two Kenyan contacts persons to get their freedom pending investigations," Magistrate Ondieki ruled.
The suspects were released on bail and ordered to be reporting to the DCI headquarters every Friday until investigations are completed. They were also ordered to surrender their passports to the court.
The DCI had sought 10 days to continue detaining the suspects namely Samuel Wathika Gathuru, Moses Otieno Oketch, Patroba Odhiambo Tobias, Elisha Mbadi Kimbero, Teddy Samora Kowino, Kaisarios Loamms, Mugabe Patrick Biriko, Seth Steve Okute, Bruno Otieno Oliende, and Collins Kiprotich Langat pending completion of investigations for the offence of conspiracy to commit a felony.
The Office of the DCI through lead investigating officer Gerald Kamwaro had asked the court to allow the detention of the suspects on grounds that the probe into the case is complex as it involves other foreign governments.
"We want to contact the government of Republican of Guinea, Burkina Faso, DRC, Rwanda, Dubai and USA concerning the mentioned persons, gold and documents recovered by the police during arrest on Friday," the DCI officer told the court.
According to the DCI, the suspects allegedly defrauded three foreigners of the aforementioned amount in a fake gold scam deal.
The DCI says that the suspects were arrested over the weekend in two separate raids at Nairobi’s upmarket Kitusuru and Kilimani suburbs, in one of the latest scams targeting foreign investors.
In an affidavit filed in court on Monday by officer Kamwaro, he gave a detailed account of how the ten suspects have been posing as businessmen dealing in gold and how several foreign investors have fallen victim to them.
"One complainant Ismail Kolawole Adesina reported at Parklands police station vide OB 12/03/01/2023 that he had been taken to Guinea on March 22, 2022 where he alleged to have been there to purchase 33kilograms of gold which was to be shipped to Dubai by April 1, 2022," the court papers states.
The court heard that the complainant claims that upon arrival in Dubai, he was informed that the cargo had been sent to Nairobi.
Adesina, however, decided to travel to Nairobi and upon arrival on April 5, 2022, he was directed to a company known as Bravie Group limited offices in Kilimani area to get assistance with his cargo. The complainant claims that at the firm he met Wathuku who informed him he could not get his cargo.
After failing to get his cargo, Wathuku informed the complainant that he was in a position of selling him 52 kilograms of gold.
"The complainant later transferred USD 34,000 through RTGS into an account belonging to Bravie Group limited held at KCB bank Hurlingam branch," investigation officer Kamwaro stated.
During arrest on February 3, 2023, Wathuku was found with Oketch and Oliende in his office and upon search, several exhibits were recovered including suspected minerals coated in goldish and silver colours, a partly used KCB chequebook in Bravie Group company name, a briefcase containing metal analyzer tools, cash counting machine, a rubber stamp inscribed Bukule Tereno Advocates Kinshasa and several assorted metal rods.
"Upon further investigations, a search carried out at Wathuku's residence in Karen, led to the recovery of a pistol and 78 rounds of ammunition, 393 rounds of ammunition of high calibre gun, five magazines and two slings," officer Kamwaro said.
He adds that Wathuku had an expired license for the pistol but he had no license for the 393 high-calibre ammunition he was found with.
Further, Oketch and Tobias had on February 3, 2023, lured another complainant Muthu Siva Sakthi Velu into the same office in Kilimani to discuss gold business where he had intended to purchase 5 kilograms of gold by paying a deposit of USD 25,000.
On his side Biriko during his arrest DCI officers found him with two identification documents; a DRC passport and an ID card from Rwanda in his name.
The officer claims that Kaisarios alleges to be a Greek national whose presence in the country is very suspicious, especially being found in an office where the complainants had been defrauded.
Kimbero and Kowino are being investigated by DCI after they were found with mobile phones which are suspected to be recipients of monies paid by the complainants allegedly to be delivered to Wathuku.
On Okute's side, police want to investigate the circumstances under which he received USD 100,000 in his account at I&M Bank on September 11, 2022. It is alleged he received the cash in another gold deal reported by Marjorie Grant from the USA through an email addressed to DCI.
During Okute arrest, police are said to have seized a pistol with 13 rounds of ammunition, an expired license, 4 stamps from different firms dealing with precious metals, a seal, a goldish metal, a box containing clear crystal, a seal cash box and several documents.
"Oliende is alleged to have lured the complainant Marjorie Grant to Okute to assist him in the shipment of 33 kilograms of gold held at Nairobi customs offices from Burkina Faso. Upon search, several gold trading licenses, gold export invoices and several metallic boxes we recovered," investigating officers stated.
Further, Langat was arrested after he presented himself at the Operations Support Unit in Nairobi Area while seeking release from Wathuku. He is said to have identified himself as a police officer and upon a search by police, he was found with two notes of USD in the denomination of 100 suspected to be fake and kept as exhibits.
"Upon thorough scrutiny of Langat's mobile phone GEO- location messages were retrieved having been sent by Wathuku and his phone seized," Officer Kamwaro states in his affidavit.
The DCI says that his officers intend to subject the recovered exhibits including mobile phones to ballistic experts, mobile providers, the ministry of mining, the immigration office and the ministry of foreign affairs.
The police say it also needs time to conduct an identification parade against the suspect before they can be charged.