The flamboyant mastermind of an intricate web of fraudsters passing themselves off as international gold dealers Jared Otieno, enjoys high-level connection in security agencies and other government departments.
A suave and calculating individual, who loves the fine things in life, Otieno has ensured the tonnes of money he makes works to eliminate any obstacles or to smoothen the path he uses to conduct his business. But which also has left a trail of broken dreams and tears for some people he has interacted with.
It was not clear whether his arrest yesterday was triggered by the Sh250 million gold sale scandal involving members of the Dubai royal family or over claims of conning a Chinese of Sh300 million in another gold deal gone sour.
It remains to be seen whether Otieno’s connections will work for him this time or whether detectives will use this opportunity to dismantle the audacious gang that has minted hundreds of millions of shillings from mostly unsuspecting foreigners.
Factor this. On June 17, 2017, Otieno was arrested after one of his victims complained to police about being conned of millions of shillings for non-existent gold. He was locked up at Muthaiga Police Station in Nairobi.
Vehicles towed He was disarmed and his firearm certificate revoked. Police also detained two of his high-end vehicles, each valued at more than Sh20 million.
A senior police officer at the station was shocked when the suspect calmly negotiated his freedom with a top officer at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
Within minutes and after settling on a fee of Sh10 million with the DCI official, the man, who had been detained over money laundering, receiving money by pretence and conspiracy to defraud, casually walked to freedom. And not just that, he was driven to his house in a government vehicle.
A week after being charged, Otieno mysteriously received back his cars and firearm without the authority of the court.
Following a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta, detectives raided Otieno’s newly acquired ritzy Karen residence and towed away two luxurious cars, a Porsche and Bentley, both valued at over Sh50 million.
Otieno has never been convicted of any offence and this, despite being charged in courts on several occasions, according to police records. The group he leads has extensive networks both in the security sector and the Immigration that has helped him con people with impunity over the years with many using several aliases and fake names to hide their real identities, to conceal their past and cover pending cases.
At least three of the 15 suspects arrested on Monday and charged in court on Tuesday gave detectives fake names. Investigations by People Daily show that the affidavit sworn by the investigating officer, Constable Dan Owino had some fake names.
Real identity Detectives will also seek to establish the real identify of three men; Abouma Tamoua, Salim Ali Abubakar, and Albert Likole Lokunda, who are said to be West Africans but did not present any identification documents.
His arrest came after a Chinese claimed Otieno and others had defrauded him of Sh300 million pretending they would supply him with gold.
The DCI boss said Otieno had been identified in CCTV footage confiscated from a house in Kileleshwa area on Monday as the owner of the premises and the main driver of the business while 15 suspects arrested were his employees, four of whom he was in constant communication with.
But the glaring oversight was the case of the fourth respondent, said to be Otieno’s right hand man, in the investigating officer’s affidavit.
Philip Nahashon Naulu whose real name according to the detective is Philip Nahashon Aroko, is one of the suspects who was charged in court for the theft of Sh80 million from the Cooperative Bank in October 2010.
He was also charged last year alongside three other suspects for defrauding a Brazilian of Sh23 million. The matter is pending before court.
He was charged together with Roy Shirekuli, lawyer Muzala Rumili, Sikanda Abdala Saleh and a Ugandan Kayombya Gorman alias Timothy Mureithi for defrauding Samir Entorno.
Detectives from the CyberCrime unit on Monday confiscated seven desktop computers, two laptops and digital video recorder. They were all taken to the DCI headquarters for analysis, which revealed that Otieno was indeed the mastermind and together with Aroko were coordinating everything.
Otieno also works closely with fraudsters from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who are used to convince unsuspecting customers that they have huge gold deposits in the DRC.
Detectives are also investigating the role of the lawyers who have been working closely with Otieno in the fraudulent deals.
He also works closely with some Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) employees, with some of his staff posing as customs officers, to dupe unsuspecting buyers by taking them to JKIA or high-end hotels having won the confidence of, or compromised, the security officers.
Covert operations To deal with the menace, police have adopted a multi-pronged approach, which involves a number of covert operations.
Buyers, especially foreigners have also been warned to contact the Mines and Geology department to avoid being conned.
Fraudsters, police say, are also forging letters purported to have originated from the department with most of the fake letters signed by a Mr Joram Wambua Katweo, on behalf of the Commissioner of Mines and Geology.
Investigations by the Banking Fraud Investigations Unit and the Flying Squad also revealed that Otieno was one of the people who had kept valuables in Barclays Bank’s safe deposit boxes at its Queensway branch, including Sh2 billion in fake currency.
Otieno made headlines with his Sh15 million wedding to Kendi Mwiti that featured choppers and luxury vehicles. The wedding was attended by a number of legislators and ranking government personalities.
Investigations revealed that the premises where 15 suspects were arrested belonged to Otieno and that the suspects were his employees.
Reports also show Otieno had been visiting the high-end premise within Kaputei Gardens in Kileleshwa, and was also in constant communication with at least four of the arrested suspects On January Jared Otieno, Edwin Ochieng and Lilian Gathoni Ogutu alias Kabea were charged at the Makadara Law courts for defrauding Christophe Francois Berillion of USD 192,500 (Sh19.25million).