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Main suspect in Sh151m fake minerals scam arrested

Nairobi
 Part of the 'consignment' recovered by detectives. [DCI, X]

Sleuths from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have arrested the prime suspect in the Sh151m tantalum minerals scam.

The suspect identified as Patrick Lumumba Ulundu alias Gabriel Kulonda was arrested at Harambee Avenue in Nairobi on Friday morning, after escaping the detection of immigration officials at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, where his passport had been flagged.

"Determined to sneak back into the country and further his felonious activities, the suspect used a Ugandan Interstate pass card in the name of Lumumba Patrick Byarufu, and upon arrest was also found in possession of yet another Congolese Passport, in the name of Patrick Ulundu Lumumba," revealed DCI.

The suspect is accused of defrauding a Chinese national of Sh151 million.

Authorities said that Lumumba had been contacted to deliver a consignment of minerals, but upon its arrival in China, the containers were found to have been filled with sand.

"One of three containers declared to contain tantalum minerals was opened in China, only to be found loaded with drums of sand, triggering investigations at the port of Mombasa, the transit route," police said.

Detectives have also established that the 40ft container had passed the entire verification process without any documentation. This totaled to six, the number of containers of sand declared as tantalum minerals.

"We have since discovered that already two more containers have been cleared and shipped to Dubai, and efforts are underway to have them intercepted.”

 Some port officials believed to have compromised security checks to facilitate the illegal transactions are being investigated, including bank officials, who DCI believes were in cahoots with the suspect.

The syndicate is reported to have made away with Sh49 million by “working with rogue bank officials.”

The suspect was arraigned at the Milimani Law Courts on Friday.

Tantalum is a strong and conductive metal that is used in the manufacture of aircraft engines and electrical devices, such as capacitors, surgical implants, and corrosive chemicals.

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