In a startling twist, a Senator and two Members of Parliament have found themselves entangled in a high-stakes investigation surrounding a counterfeit gold scheme valued at an astounding Sh1 billion.
This revelation has come to light following the apprehension of ten suspects, including a police officer, in a meticulously executed operation conducted by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in the Garden City area.
These three first-term lawmakers, representing different regions (Rift Valley, Nyanza, and Nairobi), allegedly played pivotal roles in the ill-fated deal that has now unraveled. According to law enforcement authorities, their involvement extended to desperate efforts to secure the release of individuals arrested during the operation.
Alarmingly, this isn’t the first time these youthful politicians have been associated with fraudulent gold ventures. They have previously been implicated as guarantors in similar scams that have left victims grappling with significant financial losses. Authorities are eager to delve deeper into their connections to these illicit activities.
The operation, initiated the preceding Thursday, successfully prevented a Tunisian national from parting with Sh1 billion for an ostensibly substantial purchase of one tonne of counterfeit gold and fake US dollars. The prospective victim had received stones packaged in metal containers, all of which were confiscated from a residence in the Garden Estate.
On Friday, DCI Director Amin Mohammed inspected the crime scene in the Garden Estate area of Nairobi, where counterfeit gold and fake currency were discovered concealed within a house that had been transformed into a sophisticated office for the scammers.
In the aftermath of the operation, ten individuals were taken into custody, including a police officer linked to the DCI offices in Kitui. The exact nature of his involvement remains ambiguous, but suspicions linger that he may have been protecting the fraudsters.
Director Amin confirmed that the investigation remains ongoing, expressing frustration at the resilience of these scammers despite repeated law enforcement efforts.
The saga began in Tunisia when the victim, growing suspicious of the gold transaction, reported his concerns to the authorities, triggering a series of events that ultimately led to the operation. Upon arriving in Kenya, he was initially stranded until a taxi driver convinced him of a safe journey to his intended destination.
The victim’s ordeal continued as he was transported to the Ngara area of Nairobi, where he was held incommunicado for a week before being summoned to the Garden Estate office. He was informed that he must pay Sh400 million upfront to inspect the gold. After conducting smelting tests and verifying a sample, he would be required to settle the remaining Sh600 million.
The turning point came on Thursday, September 7, when the victim opted not to face this ordeal alone. Detectives swiftly raided the office, apprehending ten individuals, although two managed to evade capture.
Director Amin emphasized the resolve to dismantle this formidable criminal network, describing it as a powerful cartel that deploys influential names to intimidate law enforcement officials. Furthermore, the operation’s sophistication is evident in the counterfeiting of money, with incriminating documents and currency discovered hidden in metal containers.
The seized evidence, including a firearm, mobile phones, and numerous metal containers, has been transported to the DCI headquarters for further examination. Meanwhile, the suspects remain in custody, awaiting formal charges.
Law enforcement agencies have called upon Embassies and High Commissions to caution their nationals engaging in business transactions in Kenya that the country does not possess substantial stockpiles of gold, thereby dissuading potential victims from falling prey to such elaborate scams.