Police seize more than Sh104 billion in fake currency, arrest and deport several key suspects

Some of the suspects arrested allegedly with Sh2 billion fake currency at Barclays Bank Queensway branch in Nairobi on March 19. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]
Security forces have netted more than Sh104 billion in fake currency in the last three years.

In just four months, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has impounded about Sh40 billion of fake money.

Last week, police raided a Barclays Bank branch in Nairobi, where they found a customer keeping what they said was Sh2 billion in fake dollars in a safe.

In February, police seized fake currency amounting to Sh32.6 billion and 70 kilos of fake gold in a house linked to seven suspects accused of impersonating President Uhuru Kenyatta. Earlier in January, police found fake Sh6.6 million Kenyan currency and chemicals used to make the money, in a house in the Shanzu area of Mombasa.

SEE ALSO :Business disrupted at Queens Way Barclays Bank branch

In another raid on October 1, 2018, police in Nairobi recovered fake Sh1 billion cash, with three suspects being nabbed. The money was found in a house along Brookside Drive at Brookside Gardens in Westland.

10 years in jail

Two days later on October 3, a Nigerian was arrested in South B in an operation that netted fake US dollar bills for $251,400 (about Sh25.3 million). Earlier in June 2018, the High Court in Nairobi sentenced a Niger and Cameroonian national to 10 years in jail for possession of an estimated Sh110 billion in counterfeit currency.

The detectives had recovered fake $693,100,000 (Sh71,004,282,950) and 369,600,000 euros (Sh41,246,450,628.77) in suitcases.

Two suspects were also arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in October 2016 with fake Sh267 million euro notes in 500 bills on their way to Dubai.

SEE ALSO :What you need to know about bank safe boxes

The racket is not only confined to Nairobi, for on April 4, 2018, a 25-year-old woman from Kigumo, Murang’a County, was charged with being in possession of Sh2.8 million in fakeKenyan currency.

A day earlier, on April 3, 2018, four men were charged in Ogembo court with being in possession of special papers used to make US dollar fake currency notes of $110,000 and Sh600,000 Kenyan currency notes.

The Sunday Standard investigations have uncovered how foreigners, mostly from West Africa, worm their way into Nairobi and its environs and start families as they con their way into wealth. The families help them post bail or bond (title deeds or car logbooks) in court in case they are arrested. In most of the cases, the men befriend Kenyan women through Facebook and hook them in marriage. They then start receiving visitors from their home countries, who they claim to be on business trips.

Flying Squad police unit boss Musa Yego has told foreign investors to follow the right channel when investing in the country, instead of opting for the black market.

He advised investors to go through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Immigration Department to ensure that they only enter into legal deals. “People should know that no individual can make genuine money or get cash directly from Dela Rue Kenya. No money comes directly from Dela Rue to an individual,” warned Yego.

SEE ALSO :Eric Adede: The Man at the centre of the fake Sh2b fake currency

Some of those who have been caught have been deported, yet some still find their way back.

One foreigner said to have been arrested in October 2015 in possession of Sh153 million counterfeit notes was deported, but found his way back into the country, only to be arrested again in October last year in possession of more than Sh1 billion in fake notes.

Abdulah Tamba and his son Abdoulaye Tama, who claimed to be from Mali, were arrested along with their Kenyan driver, Anthony Mwangangi.

In November 2018, the High Court ordered that Ssebyala Sulaiman be released to the Immigration Department for the state to repatriate him to his home country Uganda.

Suleiman had been arrested in possession of forged bank notes that comprised seven pieces of 50 dollars in Nairobi’s Eastleigh on August 9, 2018.

SEE ALSO :Another safe deposit box identified at Barclays bank

He was charged at the Makadara Law Courts, where he was convicted on his own plea of guilty. The court sentenced him to one and a half years imprisonment.

He later appealed the sentence on the grounds that the magistrate failed to consider that he had been in remand for nine months.

The court released him, but with orders that he be deported.

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Fake CurrencyFake MoneyDirectorate of Criminal InvestigationsDCIBarclays Bank