Eight Kenyans and two foreign nationals, who were arrested on Friday, February 3, 2023, for allegedly defrauding two American citizens USD159,000 (Ksh19, 859, 100) in a fake gold scam deal, have been arraigned at Milimani Law Courts.
The suspects, however, were not charged with any offence after the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Monday, February 6, 2023 filed an application seeking to continue detaining them for 10 days to enable police complete investigations into the matter.
"We are requesting the court to issue a custodial order that the 10 suspects be detained for 10 days from today at Kamukunji police station in Nairobi to allow the police to conclude investigations," Gerald Kamwaro, an investigating officer asked the court.
The suspects, who the DCI is seeking custodial orders against, are 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.
The investigating officer claims that the 10 suspects are being investigated for the offence of conspiracy to commit a felony.
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 eight Kenyans, one Indian, and a Greek citizen 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 by officer Kamwaro, he gives a blow-to-blow account of how the suspects have been posing as businessmen dealing in gold and how several foreign investors have fallen victims 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 33 kilograms 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 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 account belonging to Bravie Group Limited held at KCB Bnk Hurlingam branch," investigation officer Kamwaro states.
During their 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 Bank chequebook with Bravie Group Company name, a briefcase containing metal analyser 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 says.
He adds that Wathuku had an expired licence for the pistol but he had no licence 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 five kilograms of gold by paying a deposit of USD 25,000.
On the other hand, DCI officers found Biriko, during his arrest, with two identification documents that included; 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 after 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.
Police also want to investigate the circumstances under which Okute received USD100,000 in his account at I&M Bank on September 11, 2022.
It is alleged that he received the cash in another gold deal reported by Marjorie Grant from USA through an email addressed to DCI.
During Okute's arrest, police are said to have seized a pistol with 13 rounds of ammunition, an expired licence, four stamps from different firms dealing with precious metals, a seal, a goldish metal, a box containing clear crystal, a sealed 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 licences, gold export invoices, and several metallic boxes were recovered," investigating officers stated.
Further, Langat was arrested after he presented himself at the Operations Support Unit at Nairobi Area while seeking release of 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 100s suspected to be fake and kept as exhibits.
"Upon thorough scrutiny of Langat's mobile phone's geo-location, messages were retrieved having been sent by Wathuku and his phone seized," officer Kamwaro states in his affidavit.
The DCI officer now wants the 10 suspects detained since the police intend to subject the recovered exhibits including mobile phones to ballistic experts, mobile providers, the Ministry of Mining, the Immigration Department, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
DCI officers also want to contact Republican of Guinea, Burkina Faso, DRC, Rwanda, Dubai, and the USA in regard to the mentioned persons, gold, and documents recovered by the police.
The police say they also need time to conduct an identification parade against the suspects before they can be charged.