A fake gold syndicate involving a senator, two members of parliament, a police officer and several other suspects has been exposed by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
The suspects are Trans Nzoia Senator Allan Chesang, Nyaribari Chache MP Zaheer Jhanda and Lang’ata MP Felix Odiwuor aka Jalango, all elected on UDA and ODM tickets respectively.
The trio is accused of being part of a network of scammers who have operatives posing as government officials from police, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and customs departments, complete with fake documentation.
This intricate web of deceit began to unravel when a Tunisian national found himself on the brink of losing a staggering Sh1 billion in a fake gold transaction.
Unbeknownst to him, this elaborate con game was orchestrated by the aforementioned trio, who possessed insider information regarding the source and authenticity of the counterfeit gold.
At the epicenter of this unfolding saga is a house owned by a businessman within the famous Garden Estate, situated along the Thika Highway just near Roasters.
It was within these walls that fake gold and counterfeit dollar notes, crucial tools in their fraudulent endeavors, were discovered by the DCI under the watchful eye of their boss, Amin Mohammed.
This house, allegedly transformed into a den of scammers for their clandestine operations, became the focal point of the investigation.
Among the numerous suspects apprehended during the DCI’s raid was a police officer affiliated with the Kiminini DCI offices, believed to have been on the payroll of these criminal masterminds, tasked with shielding their illicit operations from law enforcement scrutiny.
Trapped and Deceived
The Tunisian victim’s ordeal began when he arrived in Kenya, spending nearly an hour at the airport without anyone attending to him.
Subsequently, he was persuaded by a taxi driver that he would be safely transported to his intended destination.
The victim was then transported to Ngara, a district in Nairobi, where he was held incommunicado for an entire week before being summoned to the Garden Estate “office”.
During this time, his place of residence was Hennessey’s Hotel in Ngara, located in close proximity to Stima Plaza.
His captors demanded a down payment of Sh500 million before he could lay his eyes on the alleged gold.
Following the preliminary inspection and verification of a small sample, he was to pay the remaining Sh600 million.
However, he failed to meet the stipulated deadline.
The Garden Estate Raid
In response to the victim’s disappearance, the DCI, accompanied by their tactical team, executed a swift operation that resulted in the arrest of ten individuals.
Notably, two suspects, one of whom was suspected to be armed, managed to evade capture by forcefully tearing through a shade net fence, heightening the perimeter wall for added privacy.
In the aftermath of these arrests, it has since been revealed that Senator Chesang, the MPs, and high-ranking officers within the National Police Service frantically made phone calls in a desperate bid to secure the release of the detained suspects.
The scammers behind this operation had ingeniously crafted personas, posing as government officials from the police, Kenya Wildlife Authority (KWA), and customs departments, complete with counterfeit documentation.
Among the items seized by the police were a pistol, multiple mobile phones, and a significant quantity of metal boxes used to store the counterfeit currency and fake gold.
These confiscated materials were promptly transported to the DCI headquarters for further examination.
In a related development, Zaheer Jhanda, one of the implicated politicians, has come under investigation along with a bank official and several other individuals.
This inquiry stems from a jaw-dropping con involving a Brazilian national who was swindled out of Sh1 billion, marking one of the most significant gold scams in Kenyan history.
Adding intrigue to the situation, Jhanda recently caused a stir on social media platforms when a video emerged of him nonchalantly counting millions of dollars in an undisclosed location.
This footage showcased the lawmaker, who is also a prominent businessman, meticulously counting stacks of hundred-dollar bills, one by one.
Jhanda has become a person of considerable interest, particularly in the case involving the ruler of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Maktoum.
According to investigators, Jhanda was instrumental in orchestrating the fraudulent transaction, where he impersonated CS Fred Matiang’i, roping in an elaborate group of individuals, some with ties inside the government.
Zaheer Jhanda: From Businessman to Politician
Before the fake gold scandal came to the fore in Nairobi, Jhanda had projected an image of a flamboyant businessman with a sprawling empire to manage.
Armed with substantial financial resources, Jhanda left an indelible mark on the Kisii political landscape, disrupting even the most solemn of funeral proceedings, much to the chagrin of the bereaved.
At these gatherings, leaders and grieving families were compelled to plead with him to stay until the ceremonies concluded, fearing that his departure would prematurely bring an end to the proceedings.
His political ascent with the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) broke through the traditional barriers of ethnic and clan politics within the Abagusii community, propelling him to victory in the Nyaribari Chache parliamentary seat election.
In that closely contested race, Jhanda secured a remarkable 31,684 votes, with Jubilee’s Richard Tong’i following closely with 10,039 votes.
The intricate network of individuals facilitating and managing court cases within the judiciary has also come to light, with Registrar Anne Amadi making headlines.
In an unprecedented move, a British gold trader, Demetrios Bradshaw, has petitioned the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to remove Anne Amadi from her office, citing her alleged involvement in a Sh100 million gold scam.
Bradshaw has an ongoing case in the High Court, seeking the recovery of over Sh100 million that he claims was fraudulently paid to the law firm of Amadi and Associates.
Notable figures implicated in the fake gold scandal include Jared Otieno, Elvis Muga, Kevin Obia, Philip Aroko, Samir Munyinyi, and Steve Oduor.
In response to these developments, both Kenyan and foreign nationals have been urged to exercise due diligence when engaging in gold transactions
Simultaneously, a Nairobi court has extended orders freezing the bank accounts of two international private air charter service companies connected to prominent fake gold dealer Chris Obure.
The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) has been granted 21 days to conduct in-depth investigations into alleged illegal financial transactions amounting to Sh18.9 million involving Cullinan Private Jet Corp Limited and GLO-Jet International Limited.
ARA has also been permitted to probe the bank account of Aieetkumar C Shah held at a local bank.
The court has granted the two companies the opportunity to challenge the freeze orders obtained by ARA in September 2023.
The outcome of this legal battle, scheduled for a ruling on September 13, 2023, holds immense significance for the implicated individuals and the broader implications of the fake gold scandal.