Kenya returns 35 kilos of gold, Sh15 million to Tanzania after seizure at JKIA

Security officials carry part of the cargo that was handed to President Magufuli in Tanzania. [Courtesy]

Top Kenyan government officials flew to Tanzania with 35.3 kilogrammes of gold stolen from a bank in Tanzania and handed it back to President Pombe Magufuli.

The officials also handed more than Sh15 million that was recovered from a suspect who was arrested with the gold worth about Sh168 million at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in February 2018.

Foreign Affairs CS Monicah Juma, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, Attorney General Paul Kihara, Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti and the Director of Asset Recovery Agency flew accompanied the gold to Dar-es Salam where they handed it to President Magufuli and his team.

The gold was stolen on May 21, 2004 from Tanzania’s National Bank of Commerce (NBC) in Moshi, alongside more than Sh180 million cash in US Dollars, Kenyan shillings and Tanzanian shillings.

A prime suspect, Patrick Ayisi Ngoi, was arrested in Kenya and repatriated to Tanzania for prosecution in January this year.

According to CS Juma, the return of the seized loot followed a meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Magufuli early this month.

“We are here to fulfill deliberations between you and President Kenyatta,” said Ms Juma told her host.

The handover was witnessed by Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Community John Aidan Mwaluko and the country’s Director of Public Prosecutions Bswalo Mganga.

Magufuli faulted Tanzanian security apparatus for allowing the stolen gold to be transported out of the country.

“There are many questions to ask, when the goods were being transported, where were Tanzanian security apparatus?” said Magufuli.

The Tanzania President commended Kenya’s security apparatus for tracing and recovering the loot, promising to reward the officers involved in the operation.

As the handover was in progress, Uhuru and Magufuli spoke over the phone.

“How are you my brother? The property of our citizens has been returned to the owners,“ said Uhuru.

“CS Monica Juma has delivered the package, I have checked and verified (that) it is the one,” said Magufuli.