Eight suspects arrested in USD439 trillion DCI operation

The main entrance of DCI headquarters on Kiambu Road. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have arrested eight suspected fraudsters in a USD439 trillion scam said to be targeting two foreign businessmen. 

DCI on Tuesday evening said its sleuths from the Operations Support Unit managed to recover several cash boxes with fake US dollars, military boots, suspected stolen jungle fatigues for Administration Police, and customs reflector jackets at a warehouse in Nairobi, during the operation. 

The eight suspects have been identified as Moses Otieno, Peter Aura, Brian Waweru, John Kalombo, Peter Kisanya, Noah Ouma, Charity Njeri, and Mercy Cheptoo.

They are suspected to have intended to steal the cash from two foreign businessmen from the Netherlands. 

"In this orchestrated fraudulent scheme, the foreigners were contacted through a WhatsApp call by a number registered in the name 'Canopy Shield Agencies', by a caller who informed them that their consignment of 40 pallets had been held at the Kenya Customs Warehouse pending duty fee payment of USD 36,000 (Ksh 5.4M)," said DCI. 

According to detectives, the Dutch nationals had entered into a cash-on-transit deal involving the USD 439 trillion destined for Dubai from the Central Bank of Togo.

"The caller who posed as a customs officer convinced the complainants that the first batch of 40 pallets contained USD4 billion (Sh608 billion) and that they were being flown through Kenya to facilitate their clearance and smooth entry to Dubai," DCI said on X. 

The two foreigners then booked a flight to Kenya through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with the aim of clearing the required duty fee at the customs department.

DCI sleuths who had been following the transit undercover pounced on the fraudsters as they led the complainant's contact person to a warehouse where the purported consignment was being held.

"As the eight suspects got busy around the warehouse convincing their targets to part with the USD36,000, the operations team stormed the premises." 

The two foreigners are also being interrogated to shed more light on the business deal that has left many shocked, going by the amount in question.