Probe into smuggled gold deepens

Police spokesperson Eric Kiraithe

What you need to know:

  • Detectives scrutinise documents on bullion trade in Kenya dating as far back as 2008

Detectives investigating the smuggling of 2.5 tonnes of gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) worth Sh8 billion are perusing documents related to gold trading in Kenya since 2008.

Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere last week ordered the detectives and their counterparts from the DRC to retrieve documents related to transactions of the precious metal for scrutiny.

Among documents retrieved included those from a local businessman under investigation.

The documents were forwarded to the police boss and the CID director.

Some of the documents relate to transactions between Kolkata, India-based Net Results and DRC-based Kivu Mining involving 1,000kg of gold nuggets in September 2010.

Another set of documents signed in November 2010 include a private sale and purchase agreement between Groupe Miniere de Kisangani (GMK) and Meranti Holdings Ltd Joint Venture-Hong Kong involving the initial trial shipment of 825kg.

The case was reported to the CID and a man was arrested and appeared in court on November 2, 2010, charged with pretending that he was in a position to sell 825kg of gold and consequently obtaining $200,000 (Sh16.2 million) from a South African, Mr Dennis Ray Schmelzenbach.

The case against Mr Paul Kobia Kabebria alias Paul Ilunga Ngoei was documented as CR 121/818/2010, OB 47/8/11/2010, CF1904/2010.

“This investigation touches on the relationship we have with neighbouring countries. It should not be an opportunity to play politics. Although we have not found evidence of the 2.5 tonnes allegedly smuggled into the country, by no means has that line been abandoned. There are multiple investigations being conducted by the team,” police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said on Tuesday.

He said that apart from pursuing the criminal nature of the case, the investigation would help generate information to formulate policies to curb gold smuggling in the country.

“The structure of the investigation is such that no one agency or individual can compromise the investigation,” Mr Kiraithe said.

Police have also sought Interpol’s assistance in investigating the syndicate that traverses South Africa, Dubai, DRC and Kenya.

The investigation is being conducted by the CID, Immigration Department, Kenya Revenue Authority and detectives from DRC.

President Joseph Kabila of DRC was in Kenya last week and gave President Kibaki a list of 15 Kenyans and Congolese he said were linked to the smuggling.