Styled as a credible development and formidable firm largely owned by foreigners to cover what investigators believe to be a well-orchestrated money laundering criminal enterprise, Rokoh (K) Construction Limited is now facing probe for allegedly fleecing Kenyan suppliers in excess of Sh800million, investigations by The Informer have established.
Detectives attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have so far recorded statements from twenty two complainants and witnesses in what is shaping out to be a new frontier of transnational crimes involving foreign investors targeting locals.
They are also pursuing a case of obtaining money by false pretences by the suspect firm.
According to preliminary investigation findings, the complainants supplied building materials and services for their projects at three sites; Riverside, Cascadia Apartments at Two Rivers and Enaki within Kitusuru on diverse dates between 2019 and March this year.
Developers of the project have disassociated themselves from the scam saying they had settled payments owed to Rokoh (K) Construction Limited in full.
However, dues owed to suppliers of the materials and services are yet to be settled and all the directors of the suspect company have since fled from the country.
When contacted for comment, Rokoh management through one of the directors Derek Claassen denied any wrongdoing.
Interestingly, in an apparent admission of unsettled debt, Claassen termed the matter as ‘civil’.
“Written Statements were issued to the DCI from the MD and Director regarding the initial issue surrounding suppliers making cases at the police/DCI regarding the supply of material under false pretences. Secondly the amounts due to suppliers was addressed in terms of commitments for payments to commence. As stated materials ordered were legally done vis a signed and agreed LPO with correct Quantities and prices and signed and agreed with the supplier. The statements we believe are not correct, and while the contractor does understand the issue of payment, these are civil matters to be addressed in civil court if so required. No alleged fraud cases were discussed and or brought forward at that stage.” Claassen said via mail.
In what has opened another new front of investigations Claassen, a South African national is a holder of two active Passports; number M00089645 and number M000211267 was the firm’s representative during the deal gone sour.
Fresh details have also emerged that most of the payments for the project was wired to a certain account in Switzerland.
According to records, besides Claassen, other directors include Jean Mann Koehler (chairperson), Blafler Kurt Walfer, Mark Walfer Koehler, Peter Mugarura, Brigitte Koehler, Jost Friendelm Erwin and Willie Swanepoel.
Khalid Mohamed Hamoud, a Kenyan national is also listed as a director but he has since been allegedly forced out of the controversial firm.
Before he fled from the country using one of the undeclared passport, Claassen was grilled and his passport retained as the matter was still under investigations allegedly for medical attention.
Rokoh have their African region offices based in Uganda where they are based and can be seized through an application of Interpol’s international warrant of arrest.
“Under no circumstances was the proceeds from projects paid into a Swiss account as alleged and is totally slanderous and incorrect. It appears that someone has gone ahead and stated incorrect and wrong facts totally detrimental to any resolution, again slanderous.” Claassen added.
However, investigations have revealed Guaranty Trust (GT) Bank Rokoh management wired colossal amounts of money in single tranches of Sh20million from Guaranty Trust (GT) Bank in Nairobi to an account in Switzerland.
Rokoh also have active account at Sidian Bank. Investigators have since recorded statements from senior managers of the respective banks.
However, neither Rokoh, GT Bank nor Sidian Bank responded to our queries whether the mandatory disclosures were made over the transfer of tens of millions to Swiss account in line with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and Financial Reporting Centre (FRC) guidelines.
“The intention is clear to settle the amounts due and always has been. This can only transpire if the contractor is not allowed to continue with his business and not under duress and or unnecessary allegations and threats as is the case at present. Monies from projects are due and this can only be achieved if the contractor can finalize on his valuations and contractual issues. Together with this new works are in the pipeline and with these unwarranted articles published, it will only aggravate the situation,” said Claassen.
Claassen also denied that after being paid by the developers in full, the company directors secretly withdrew the bonds from the bank which were used as financial security against default.
Effectively, the bond could have cushioned the suppliers, in case the contractor failed to complete the project or pay in full.
Detectives are also keen to establish how money was wired out of the country and also who was behind the issuance of the bad cheques which were issued to the suppliers but bounced.