A Kenyan lawyer is under the Director of Criminal Investigations radar after he was mentioned in a multi-million fake gold trade syndicate.
The lawyer, the latest in a long chain of personalities involved in facilitating the trade in which gullible foreigners are duped and defrauded of their money, has been included in a report by the DCI after the Asset Recovery Authority (ARA) said it is following upon his business accounts and property in the country.
Justice Daniel Ogembo (above) preserved the accounts of Mubadala Merchants Limited, First Cargo Logistics Limited, First Line Capital Limited and one Doumbe Malonga Eddy Michel held in Standard Chartered Bank and Cooperative Bank.
Ochieng Opiyo Advocates are said to have facilitated the theft of Sh 71.5 million after he allegedly collected the money on behalf of a company owned by two Zambian nationals.
ARA states that the intricate money-laundering scheme is done through a plot that dupes foreigners that they are receiving gold with bank details indicating that it is timber that is being exported.
Other lawyers under investigations have been accused of drafting forged documents. In one of the deals, a supplier who introduced himself as Steve Okothe, bearer of ID number 10215492, with the help of another lawyer presented a letter dated September 26, 2016, purported to have been signed by a Joram Wambua Katweo for the Commissioner of Mines and Geology.
“We established that they are involved in an intricate money-laundering scheme executed with the intent of defrauding foreign nationals on the premise that they have gold for sale while hiding behind falsified bank documents showing they are engaged in timber export,” reads part of the statement filed by ARA.
The agency told the court that shared out by the foreign businessmen is part of the Sh157 million received from a shipment of the fake gold disguised as timber. They forged customs documents to conceal their fake gold business.
To facilitate movement of the funds to their personal accounts, they used agreements supported by falsified custom declaration forms purportedly from Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) as proof that they were engaged in timber importation while we suspect the money was for fake hold trade,” ARA added in their statement.
They added, “Investigations established that Sh71.5 million was transferred from the account held by Ochieng Opiyo Advocates to another account held by First Line Capital Ltd owned by the two Zambian businessmen while declaring that it was payment to purchase timber for export.”
The rest of the money was shared by two other companies who received Sh47.7 million and Sh37.6 million respectively.
ARA investigator further dragged the Zambian nationals in another case of fraud where foreigners lost Sh728 million between May 2019 and January 2021 but the proceeds could be not traced.
This is the second suit filed by ARA in a span of seven days. The agency filed a similar suit seeking to recover Sh50 million from Cameroonian Eddy Michel Malonga, Mubadala Merchants Ltd and First Cargo Logistics.