Is politics the new safe haven for gold-scam suspects and aspiring jailbirds? Should Kenyans sit back and watch known scammers take up leadership positions?
A well-known frequent at the DCI police cells, Mr. Philip Aroko has announced his intention to invest his earnings from the illicit gold-dealings in an ambitious candidacy for the Kasipul Constituency MPs seat.
His announcement has sent women, children and the youth in shock, still processing the magnitude of the curse and suffering that is set to befall them. The constituency is located in Homa Bay county and has, until recently, been only associated with intellectuals and public figures of high repute.
Mr. Aroko has been arrested severally and arraigned in court in various scam cases, the common being the now common fake gold scam. In this line of business, people such as Aroko pose as gold sellers and hoodwink foreign nationals in purchsing the non-existent gold they are offering, mostly to the tune of billions of shillings.
Related case: Detective tells court how Fake Gold scammers Philip Aroko and accomplices were arrested after manhunt.
An investigating officer has told a Nairobi court how he arrested suspects accused of defrauding a Brazilian national of Sh23 million in gold racket.
DCI officer Gerald Kamwaro told Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo that the complainant, Samir Entoro reported that he had been defrauded after the people he intended to do gold trade with him failed to ship the consignment to Dubai as agreed.
Kamwaro said that the complainant had deposited USD 42,000 at NIC bank in the account of Tom Okundi. The accused persons include Philip Nahashon Aroko, lawyer Munzala Javier Rumili and Sikanda Ismael Abdalla.
They are accused of defrauding Samir Entoro the millions by falsely pretending that they would ship to him eight kilograms of gold from to Dubai. The accused persons are alleged to have committed the offence between May and June 2018.
“The complainant had been given the account number by the 5th accused person,” the investigator testified.
The officer produced an acknowledgement form from Okundi Advocates whereby he had been authorised to disburse the money to one Julius Kibet of a non-existent ID number. This was in May 2018. Kamwaro told the court that he received several documents from the complainant including a copy of bank transfer from him from Bank of America to Okundi advocates at NIC bank.
Others include an image of a building on 5th Ngong Avenue where the office of the accused persons was, an image of a safe he had bought in which the gold was to be kept, an image of a number plate and first accused person, Philip Aroko.
There is also a tracking number which was to track the gold from JKIA to Dubai. Kamwaro told the court that he arrested Aroko on June 9, 2018. He was traced through the mobile phone number he had given the complainant and the car he was using.
He said, presented himself to the police after and later to court where he pleaded not guilty to the charges. Other arrests followed. The investigator also told the court that USD 30,000 which the complainant had also paid was refunded to him.
It is alleged that the complainant paid over USD 200,000 for the gold even though it is not the amount indicated on the charge sheet. This is because some of the money had been paid in cash.
The court also heard that one Maureen Akinyi who works in Brazil is the one who brought the Entoro to Kenya and introduced him to her brother Samson Owalo who then introduced him to the accused persons.
Entoro and Akinyi had allegedly known each other for over 10 years. Lawyer Munzala who opted to cross-examine the witness even though he had a lawyer representing him, told the court that he was working with the complainant to recover his money and not a thief.
Munzala fired up demanding to know why he was arrested yet he was assisting the complainant to recover his money. The officer responded that they believed he was part of the squad that defrauded the complainant.
Advocate Okundi who is the only witness yet to testify but an application by the prosecution to adjourn the matter was denied since Okundi has been summoned three times but failed to appear as required. This therefore, closed the prosecution’s case.
The defence will file their submissions before the court makes a ruling on whether the accused persons have a case to answer.