Two in Sh15.9bn fake gold scam freed on bail

Nicholas Otieno Ndolo and Thomas Otieno Ngoe

Nicholas Otieno Ndolo and Thomas Otieno Ngoe at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi on March 16, 2023, over a Sh15.9 billion fake gold scam. 

Photo credit: Richard Munguti | Nation Media Group

Two men implicated in a Sh15.9 billion fake gold scam have been released on a cash bail of Sh500,000 each pending the concussion of investigations by police.

Nicholas Otieno Ndolo and Thomas Otieno Ngoe were Thursday granted the bond by Kibera senior principal magistrate Charles Mwaniki, who declined a request by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to detain them for 14 days.

The city magistrate observed that bail is a constitutional right and that there were no compelling reasons to detain the suspects.

In the detention application, the DCI claimed the pair received $1 million (Sh129,470,000) from the complainant, a foreigner whose identity was withheld.

Court papers indicate the complainant sought to purchase 3,000kgs of gold at $41,000 per kilogram, bringing the total cost to $dollars 123 million (Sh15,924,810,000).

Police investigator Alexander Makomah, in his affidavit, told the court that in the transaction, the complainant was introduced to Mr Ndolo, as a businessman dealing in gold.

After formal introductions, they agreed that the complaint would purchase the gold and Mr Ndolo provided an Equity Bank account in the name of Africorp Consultants Limited as the transaction account for the business.

“The complainant later instructed his bank in the United States of America to wire the sum of $1 million on February 10, 2023, by way of a swift bank transfer, into the Equity Bank account. Mr Ndolo confirmed to have received the money and would then contact the complainant to witness the packaging of the gold in readiness for shipment to Dubai,” said the investigator.

He added that the complainant waited in vain for an appointment to witness the packaging of the precious gem, which prompted him to request documentation in regard to the purchase.

The complainant later realised that some of the documents, such as the customs entry indicated on the declaration form and dated March 8, 2023, was not genuine.

“Mr Ndolo started to avoid meeting the complainant and later started threatening him with deportation from Kenya. This prompted the complainant to make a report to the DCI operations support unit, a report which was then booked at Capitol Hill Police Station vide OB No.29/11/03/2023,” said the investigator.

Upon investigations at Equity Bank, the officer said the account was being operated by Mr Ngoe and that the whole amount had been transferred to other accounts.

Mr Ngoe was arrested and a firearm recovered. Mr Ndolo surrendered to the DCI headquarters, where he was subsequently arrested for interrogation.

In seeking to detain the suspects longer, the investigator said it was believed that the firearm was used to commit crimes and was the subject of further forensic analysis. He also wanted to establish how Mr Ngoe acquired it.

Mr Makomah said the investigations were not complete and that the investigators intend to recover the monies allegedly defrauded from the foreigner, as well as recover documents the suspects used in committing the alleged offences and subject them to forensic analysis.

He added that the investigators were yet to record statements from witnesses, conduct an identification parade, subject the firearm to forensic analysis and ascertain whether Mr Ngoe was a licensed firearm holder.

The suspects urged the court to free them on bond , pledging to cooperate with the police till the completion of investigations.

The matter will be mentioned on April 3, 2023.