By Cyrus Ombati
Nairobi, Kenya: A Kenyan has been arrested for allegedly conning a Malaysian national Sh18.4 million pretending he would sell him 153 kilogrammes of gold bars.
The suspect, Boniface Ochieng Onamu was arrested in Nairobi at the weekend after the Malaysian national travelled to Kenya after the man failed to send him the promised gold even after paying the money in US dollars ($217,000).
Apparently, the two had met in Hong Kong in June last year and sealed the deal to have Onamu sell the gold bars that were in a store in Nairobi.
After agreeing on modalities of delivering the precious metal, the Malaysian national sent the first US$ 100,000 on September 19, 2012, the second one amounting to US$ 85,000 on November 26, 2012 and last one US$32,000 on November 28, 2012.
According to the complainant’s statement, Onamu was demanding a further US$183,000 to enable him clear customs fee gold consignment had accrued at the airport before he could ship it to Hong Kong.
This aroused his curiosity prompting him to travel to Nairobi on January 3 where he tried to reach Onamu in vain.
He reported the matter at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport CID office. According to the deputy CID boss Joseph Ng’ang’a, they managed to trace the suspect to his residence in the city where he was arrested.
Onamu was expected in court Monday to face charges of obtaining money in false pretence.
“We have since established the money was remitted to his account at an international bank,” said Mr Ng’ang’a.
The Malaysian operates Golden Herse Limited, an agency in Hong Kong that deals with gold and other precious metals.
Police say they are receiving many cases in which unsuspecting buyers are conned of money by people who claim they can sell them gold.
CID director Ndegwa Muhoro says most of those conned are foreigners and that after investigations they realise the conmen use small samples of real gold to claim it is part of a larger amount that they have in store to dupe their targets.
“We do not have such huge amounts of gold. The process of handling gold anywhere is very complex and no such amount can pass the airport or any entry point,” said Muhoro.
Kenya exported 1,635 kilogrammes of gold valued at Sh5.6 billion to Dubai and South Africa in 2011.
Official documents from the department of mines and geology show Kenya exported 2,355 kilogrammes of the mineral valued at Sh6.2 billion in 2010 to Italy, South Africa, Canada and Dubai.
The documents show the gold originated Turkana, Migori, Moyale, West Pokot, Lodwar, Kapenguria, Siaya, Kakamega and Nandi.
The department released the data to dispute earlier press reports that showed 400 kilogrammes and 2.5 tons of the precious metal respectively, may have been exported from Kenya after being brought here from DRC Congo in the same period.
Officials at the mines and geology said all the company that were behind the export were genuine and licensed to handle the gold in the said period.