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Has Nairobi brought an end to East Africa’s ‘most-travelled fraudster’?

By Bernice Mbugua On Fri, 5 Mar, 2021 15:43 | 3 mins read
Tony Taban Suliman Malish
South Sudanese national Toni Taban Suliman aka Tony Taban Suleman aka Don Bosco in a Nariobi court on Friday, March 5, 2021. PHOTO | BERNICE MBUGUA

A South Sudanese national, suspected of being one of the most cunning serial fraudsters in East Africa, has been arrested and arraigned in Nairobi.

Toni Taban Suliman Malish, who also holds an Australian passport, was first arrested at Precious Gardens within Kilimani, Nairobi on Sunday, February 28.

When he was presented in court on Monday, March 1, Suliman was charged with forging travel stamps and being unlawfully present in Kenya.

Even before he could plead to the charges, Nairobi Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku realised that the suspect had previously appeared before him in a case where he was accused of failing to pay Sankara Hotel in Westlands, Nairobi, Sh190,000 for services obtained.

The magistrate noted that she had issued a warrant of arrest against him for failing to appear in court.

“You asked for time so that you could pay the bill but you never came back to court to explain whether you paid,” said Mutuku to which the suspect responded that he had already cleared the bill and his lawyer advised him there was no need of going back to the court.

Mutuku then ordered the suspect detained for the night and be brought back to the court the next day on March 2, to ascertain if indeed the hotel bill had been paid.

Another hotel in the city also claimed that Suliman aka Don Bosco had failed to pay Sh1.045 million after staying at the top restaurant for 22 days, an investigator revealed to K24 Digital.

On Tuesday, March 2, when Suliman was brought back to court, the state prosecutor confirmed that the bill had already been paid but still asked for more time to get a Sankara representative to withdraw the case.

The Sankara Hotel manager withdrew the case on Thursday, March 4.

Travel stamp forgery

But on Friday, March 5, Suliman was also presented in court for allegedly forging travel stamps with the prosecution vehemently opposing his plea to be released on bail.

The state prosecutor, Anderson Gikunda, told the court the accused person is linked to individuals charged with trafficking of narcotics and drugs at Kibera Law Courts.

Gikunda said that Suliman has no fixed home and has in the last two weeks changed residences three times, having moved from Kileleshwa to Kilimani to Westlands in Nairobi, posh estates for upper-middle-class and rich people.

The state said it’s worried Suliman may escape justice and has no known source of income.

Suliman, according to the prosecution, is also being sought in Australia for various offenses and is allegedly known for obtaining credit and running away without paying.

“I have a publication to show that he was previously residing in Uganda where he fled the country because of huge debts,” said Gikunda.

On June 3, 2015, Suliman was among nine suspects dubbed Melbourne’s most-wanted for serious crimes, including assault, drug trafficking, deception, ­stalking and breaching ­parole.

Crime Stoppers Victoria chief executive Samantha Hunter said that Toni (spelled Tony Suleman in the description) was wanted in relation to several deceptions at various bank branches in Melbourne early that year in March.

“He allegedly used stolen cheques to make deposits at banks in Sunshine, Burwood East and Melbourne CBD. The stolen cheque book is believed to be linked to an aggravated burglary in Toorak last December. A warrant for his arrest has been issued,” said Samantha, who posted a US$2,000 (Ksh170,000) bounty on his head.

Some of the travel stamps Suliman is accused of forging, according to investigators, are for arrival from Entebbe at JKIA and at the Malaba border crossing where he allegedly posed as a pedestrian.

Suliman, who once dated an NBS TV personality Zahara Totto, whom he bought a brand new BMW car with a fake personalised number plate. The vehicle was later impounded by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) after it was revealed that it had been stolen from DR Congo.

The Nairobi court placed Suliman in police custody until March 9, 2021, when it will rule on his bail application.

Additional reporting by Zadock Angira and Joel Muinde.

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