Sunday, July 14

How Senator, two MPs are targeted in Sh1 billion fake gold scam

A Senator and two Members of Parliament are among people of interest in a probe into a new fake Sh1 billion gold scam.

This is after ten suspects including a police officer were Friday arrested in an operation on the fake business in the Garden City area by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) detectives.

The three first-term lawmakers- one from Rift Valley, another from Nyanza and another one in Nairobi are said to have been part of the deal that has now been burst.

They even tried to make calls to help the release of those arrested on Thursday and Friday in the operation, police said.

Police say the three youthful lawmakers have been mentioned in past fake gold scams.

“They have been mentioned as part of the guarantors in the scam and others in the past. We will need to hear from them,” said an official aware of the trend.

The operation that started last Thursday saved a Tunisian national Sh1 billion that he was to spend in the purchase of one tonne of fake gold and gate fake dollars.

He was getting stones packaged in metal boxes that were seized in a house in Garden estate.

DCI Director Amin Mohammed on Friday visited the crime scene at the Garden Estate area of Nairobi, where detectives impounded the fake gold and fake dollars used by scammers to defraud unsuspecting businessmen in a house converted into a high end office.

The operation led to the arrest of 10 people, including a police officer attached to the DCI offices in Kitui.

His role is not known but police say they believe he was protecting the scammers.

Amin confirmed the probe is ongoing and decried the scammers are still out there despite the operations.

“The operation started all the way in Tunisia when they claimed they have the capacity of selling him gold…when he suspected and reported the matter and we embarked on the hunt,” said DCI Amin.

The targeted victim had arrived in the country last Friday and after almost an hour at a stop with no one to pick him up, he was convinced by a taxi driver that he would be delivered safely to his intended destination.

According to the victim, he was then driven to the Ngara area of Nairobi where he stayed incommunicado for a week when he was asked to come to the Garden Estate office.

He was to pay Sh400 million before being allowed to see the gold, and after smelting and verifying a sample, he was meant to pay the remaining Sh600 million, he told police.

Come Thursday, September 7 he did not show up alone.

Detectives raided the office, arresting 10 people while two others escaped, police said.

Amin said Friday they are determined to deal with the menace.

“This is a huge cartel that likes to drop big names to intimidate officers, and they also operate in a very sophisticated manner,” said Amin.

He said they are pursuing leads on where the gang printed the fake money.

The papers were found stashed in metal boxes in one of the rooms there.

“Many victims have lost huge amounts of money. These people were almost making our country particularly the Kilimani area the centre of their operations but we are now coming for them,” added Amin.

The scammers set up fully fledged offices, to be used as the addresses to cut multimillion deals.

Others play the roles of different government agents.

“Some pretend to be police officers, others KRA, others even customs officers complete with documentation that we have since discovered are fake documents,” said Amin.

The impounded items including a pistol, mobile phones and loads of metal boxes used to store the fake money and gold were taken to the DCI headquarters as exhibits as the suspects were detained ahead of arraignment.

Police have urged Embassies and High Commissions to advise their nationals coming in for business, that Kenya does not hold any huge consignments of gold.

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