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Gold scam: How Indian investor paid Sh200m for pebbles

By Mireri Junior | September 16th 2021

An India-based investor counting losses after being defrauded close to Sh200 million in a fake gold deal involving a fraudster from Guinea Bissau.

Cavalho Lopes, a gold dealer obtained $1,780,000 [Sh195,889,000] from one Malian Sanjay, based in Mumbai, India on the pretext that he would sell him 44.45 kilogrammes gold. 

According to investigations by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the gold was to be shipped from Guinea Bissau through Kigali before being loaded on a plane to India via Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

The investor told detectives that immediately Lopes confirmed that the shipment was on transit to Nairobi, he received a call from a Mr Hezbon Nyabola purporting to be from Kenya Revenue Authority claiming the consignment was detained at JKIA due to non-payment of customs duty.

“Nyabola, informed him [Sanjay] that his consignment, Airway Bill No706-27720626 had been detained at JKIA for non-payment of customs duty.”

As a result, Sanjay sent him, a further $26,700 (Sh2,938,335) to clear the consignment and facilitate its shipment.

The unsuspecting Sanjay only realised he had been scammed after the consignment failed to arrive in India within the agreed despite paying for their release through Nyabola.

He became suspicious and sought the assistance of our detectives, who immediately moved in and recovered the consignment at JKIA.

However, upon inspection, what was supposed to be gold worth over Sh190 million was discovered to be river bed pebbles, neatly arranged in a box!

Nyabola has since been arrested pending arraignment for obtaining money by false pretence.

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