Two Italians deny Sh32 million fraud charges

The decision by two Italians to obtain Sh32 million from their compatriots in the pretext of subletting them a beach resort in Malindi has landed them in court.

Today, Daniele Lo Coco and Massimo Nativi were arraigned before Kilifi Chief Magistrate Julius Nangea for allegedly obtaining Sh17m from Rita Nappo between August 30, 2018, and August 1, 2019. 

The court heard that the accused claimed to own villas in Jibana, Kilifi county, on land measuring about 0.327 hectares that they wanted to sublet to Nappo.

“With intent to defraud, they jointly obtained Sh17 million from Rita Nappo by pretending that they were in a position to sublease her Villa no 5A,” stated the charge sheet.

A year later, according to the prosecution, Coco and Nativi allegedly obtained Sh15 million from another Italian, Girola Fiorenzo, promising to sublet her another Villa number 4 B.

The prosecution said the accused claimed to own a Villa reportedly located on Kilifi Jimba 1544, measuring approximately 0.327 hectares.

However, Coco and Nativi denied the charges. The Chief Magistrate granted the accused a bond of Sh3 million each with one Kenyan surety of a similar amount.

Earlier, the case was delayed as the court waited for an Italian translator, Piero Canobbio, from Kilifi town.

The accused lawyer, Tukero Ole Kina, had asked the court to get an Italian interpreter as his clients knew very little English.

Lawyer Ndegwa Njiru asked the court to give direction on whether Ole Kina could represent the accused since he was an interested party.

However, Ole Kina said he had not recorded any statement with the DCI and revealed that he had received instructions to represent the two suspects.

Prosecuting counsel from the Office of Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) Winnie Atieno did not oppose the bond application. However, she asked the court to direct the accused to deposit their passports and leave one contact person.

Njiru supported the prosecution, saying the accused could escape through the border to Tanzania.

Ole Kina opposed the prosecution's application, saying there was no evidence to show the accused were a flight risk.

“If the accused persons decide to deposit cash bail, each will provide one Kenyan contact person that the court may reach out to if they fail to appear in court,” ordered the magistrate.

The two Italians were arrested by officers from the DCI Kilifi county on April 27 at their residence in Rafiki Tamu Resort, Watamu, following complaints from two Italians that they allegedly intended to defraud them Sh32 million.

The case will be mentioned on May 13.