State seeks to seize luxury cars from gold scam suspect

The State wants a suspect in a fake gold syndicate to forfeit two luxury cars worth Sh62 million.

The State wants a suspect in a fake gold syndicate to forfeit two luxury cars worth Sh62 million.

According to fresh court filings exclusively seen by The Standard, the Asset Recovery Agency (ASA) argues that Jared Otieno could not have bought the vehicles legitimately because he has no known source of income.

"The respondent is part of an international syndicate which has been in existence since 2012, fraudulently obtaining from investors monies on the pretense that they have precious metals including gold,” the document filed before the Anti-Corruption Court read in part.

It continues: “The respondent has no source of legitimate income and has been filing nil returns with the Kenya Revenue Authority since 2014 to date, which is the period the said motor vehicles were acquired.”

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The vehicles are a Porsche Panamera GTS and a Bentley Continental GT.

Jeremiah Matipei, an investigator, says Otieno had concealed the ownership of the Bentley by registering it under Yugni Holdings Ltd.

But a search at the registry revealed that the suspect owned majority stake in the company, which has two partners, Mary Anyango and John Kaisa, as well as a company secretary, Wambui Nyamathew.

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Otieno is said to own 50 ordinary shares while Anyango and Kaisa own 25 shares each. Wambui holds zero shares.

Money laundering

"The transactions depict a scheme of money laundering meant to conceal, hide and disguise the source and usage of funds contrary to the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act,” said Mr Matipei.

The police officer also claimed that Otieno registered the Porsche under Cleanen Ltd to keep investigators at bay.

According to the court documents filed by ASA, the vehicles were paid for in installments, with the 'price on the road' for the Bentley said to be $453,897 (Sh45.3 million).

A vehicle order agreement dated June 18, 2018 between a Bentley sales consultant, Dimitris Karakloulas, and Otieno shows he paid Sh9.6 million as an advance deposit.

He paid the balance of Sh35.7 million in 14 instalments over one year. The money was wired to RT East Africa Ltd, according to the October 8 filings before Anti-Corruption Court Judge John Onyiego.

The documents also show that Otieno spent Sh30 million to buy the Porsche for a grand total of Sh75 million. It is, however, not clear why ASA has put a figure that is Sh13 million lower.

"The transactions in respect to the purchase of the motor vehicles are dubious, suspicious and constitute reasonable grounds to believe that the source of the funds used to purchase the particular motor vehicles are proceeds of crime,” the court papers also read.

The cars, which were impounded by the State, have numerous optional extras. Optional extras are items or features added to a basic car model by the manufacturer at the buyer's request to enhance performance or styling.

Otieno had initially asked the Porsche dealer to paint the vehicle ruby red metallic but later changed to carbon grey metallic.

He requested for a special leather interior, adaptive seats and his name, Jared K. Otieno, in illuminated letters. He also wanted a top-end audio system for the car so he settled for a Burmester.

The Bentley has front comfort seats with massage and ventilation that cost Sh711,300. It also incorporated night vision, which cost Sh626,000.

Otieno also ordered a Sh1.7 million high-end audio system from  British manufacturer Naim.

In May last year, Otieno was charged with obtaining Sh300 million from Sounthorn Chanthavong, a director of Simoung Group Company, claiming that he would sell him gold.

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Money launderingThe StandardJared Otieno