Eight suspects linked to the Sh439trillion colossal fraud scheme targeting Dutch nationals were yesterday arrested by the detectives attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
Moses Otieno, Peter Aura, Brian Waweru, John Kalombo, Peter Kisanya, Noah Ouma, Charity Njeri and Mercy Cheptoo were arrested at a warehouse along Mombasa Road where several pallets containing counterfeit US dollars, suspected stolen jungle fatigues meant for police officers and customs reflector jackets among other items were recovered.
“In this orchestrated fraudulent scheme, the foreigners were contacted through a WhatsApp call by a number registered in the name ‘Canopy Shield Agencies’, by a caller who informed them that their consignment of 40 pallets had been held at the Kenya Customs Warehouse pending duty fee payment of USD 36,000 (Ksh.5.5 million).” The statement by the DCI read in part.
Within hours of receiving the call, the duo reportedly traveled to Kenya to clear the supposed customs fees.
The complainants later told police that they had reportedly entered into a cash-on-transit agreement with the Central Bank of Togo to transport the Ksh.439 trillion to Dubai prior to receiving the said phone call, hence their hurried response.
The caller who posed as a customs officer convinced the complainants that the first batch of 40 pallets contained US dollars 4 billion and that they were being flown through Kenya to facilitate their clearance and smooth entry to Dubai.
When the two foreigners arrived, a contact person guided them to the warehouse where the supposed consignment was stored.
“Unbeknownst to the fraudsters detectives had got wind of the on-goings. As the eight suspects got busy around the warehouse convincing their targets to part with the USD 36,000 the operations team stormed the premises.” It added.
The two Dutch nationals are currently being grilled by the detectives to shed more light on the business deal.
Detectives say fake currency is always linked to fake gold scams in Kenya.
Four years ago, police recovered over Sh 2 billion fake currency at the former Barclays bank (now Absa), and four international fraudsters were arrested.
Detectives from the defunct flying squad raided the bank (Queensway branch) after they got a tip-off of where the fake money had been kept in safe custody to con businessmen and investors.
Over fifty cases of gold scammers have been reported in Nairobi in the recent past.
A crackdown on gold cartels in Nairobi brings into focus how attempts to clean the trade in conflict minerals are failing.
The amounts involved also suggest Kenya’s financial system is still a conduit for extensive money laundering
“Scammers are using any means possible to intimidate foreign complaints such as threats and unjustified travel stop orders placed by corrupt Immigration officers.” The report seen by the Informer Media group stated.
According to the DCI, the cartel of gold scammers is ruthless and seemingly powerful, and for the scam to be eradicated once and for all and sanity restored in this business, political goodwill and support at the highest level is paramount.
Investigations have shown that most of the foreigners who come to buy gold are on tourist visas.
Detectives have warned that the scamming in the country had reached unprecedented proportions with negative ramifications both for the reputation and economy of the country.