Anne Amadi accused of meddling in legal fight over ‘fake gold’

anne amadi

Former Judiciary Chief Registrar Anne Amadi.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

A Dubai-based company that was allegedly conned of $627,406 (Sh91.4 million) in a fraudulent gold deal has claimed that a senior judicial officer is interfering in its High Court case against Judiciary Registrar Anne Amadi, her son and two other people.

Bruton Gold Trading LLC has filed an application in the Court of Appeal seeking the reinstatement of asset freezing orders.

In the Court of Appeal case, the Dubai-based company made allegations of interference that, if proven, could have far-reaching implications for the judiciary.

On Monday, the Court of Appeal certified Bruton's case as urgent and directed the parties to wait for the President of the Court of Appeal, Mr Daniel Musinga, to appoint a three-judge bench to hear the application for the reinstatement of the freezing orders.

The company came to Kenya to buy 1,500 kilogrammes of gold, which would have cost it Sh13.6 billion at current world prices for the precious metal.

Instead, it lost nearly Sh100 million in a botched deal that now threatens to tarnish the reputation of one of the judiciary's senior-most administrators.

Unnamed senior figure

Bruton alleges that Ms Amadi and another unnamed senior figure have been secretly working to tilt the outcome of the dispute.

In an incident that harkens back to the days when rogue judiciary staff and lawyers colluded to rip pages out of physical court files to sabotage cases, Bruton alleges that documents it submitted to the High Court through the e-filing portal on May 17 this year were mysteriously deleted.

The documents were restored to the portal after Bruton's lawyers, Murage Juma & Company Advocates, physically visited the deputy registrar of the commercial division of the Milimani High Court on May 29.

The company has also challenged a decision by High Court judge Alfred Mabeya to strike out affidavits sworn by its director, Mr Demetrios Bradshaw, and notarised in Dubai.

Justice Mabeya ruled that only affidavits notarised in Commonwealth countries were inadmissible in Kenyan courts.

Mr Bradshaw has complained that Justice Mabeya's decision forced him to travel to the UK to have his affidavits notarised.

Bruton has sued Mrs Amadi, her son Brian, Mr Andrew Njenga Kiarie, Mr Daniel Adrian Kikane Topoti, Mr Daniel Ndegwa Kangara alias Daniel Muriithi, Mr Edward Taylor alias Mboronda Seyenkulo Sakor and ABC Bank after he did not receive gold for the Sh91 million he paid.

In May, High Court Judge David Majanja issued orders freezing several bank accounts belonging to Ms Amadi, her son, her law firm and the others accused of orchestrating the alleged gold scam. The judge later disqualified himself from the case.

Justice Mabeya unfroze Ms Amadi's accounts in June after ruling that there was no evidence that the judiciary registrar was involved in the day-to-day running of the law firm.

Bruton now wants Justice Mabeya out of the case, arguing that he is hell-bent on having it dismissed.

Bypass court procedures

Mr Bradshaw argues that the judge tried to coerce his firm into accepting the lifting of the freezing orders, adding that Justice Mabeya also allowed Ms Amadi and the other respondents to bypass normal court procedures in applying for the lifting of the freezing orders.

“When [Ms] Amadi’s advocates and those representing her son and the third respondent (Mr Kiarie) filed their applications under certificate of urgency on May 23, 2023, they did not go through the required process, were not certified as urgent and yet the same were allowed and directions were given by [Justice] Mabeya on the said applications even without confirming whether the said applications had been served on all parties to the suit," Mr Bradshaw said in his court documents.

“By the time the honourable judge asked the applicant's (Bruton) counsel to concede to the lifting of the order, no party had requested the same, which clearly shows that the court had and/or held a pre-determined position prior to the hearing on that day, and the honourable commission is here urged to listen to the audio recording of the court session...," the Bruton director adds.

Initial deposit

Bruton argues that it paid the Sh91.4 million, an initial deposit, into bank accounts operated by Amadi & Associates Advocates, which represented Mr Taylor's Universal Global Logistics (UGL) in the gold deal. UGL was to export gold bars to Dubai, but no goods were delivered.

Mr Taylor told Bruton that the export had been stopped because a civil action had been brought against UGL and Bruton by an individual identified as Rufus Yah. Mr Taylor provided Mr Bradshaw with a copy of a court order in the case.

However, after conducting due diligence through Victor Lee Advocates, Mr Bradshaw discovered that the orders issued in the case brought by Rufus Yah were different from the ones he had been served with. This meant that he had been served with a forged court order.

The case turned out to be a diversionary tactic to scare off Bruton into stopping its demand of a refund of deposits already paid.

Bruton now says that officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) never tracked down Rufus Yah, but that the fees for filing the case were paid by Mr Kiarie.

A piece of the action

DCI officers also discovered that Ms Amadi opened the accounts into which the money was paid after she joined the judiciary in 2014, and therefore cannot claim to have separated herself from the law firm.

Investigations revealed that the money was withdrawn in cash by Ms Amadi's son, Brian, alongside Mr Kiarie and Mr Muriithi, but that the judiciary registrar also got a piece of the action.