3 January 2013

Congo-Kinshasa: Report Refutes DR Congo Gold Accusations

Nairobi — Kenya exported 1,635 kilograms of gold valued at Sh5.6 billion to Dubai and South Africa in 2011.

Official documents from the department of mines and geology seen by Capital FM News also show that the country exported 2,355 kilograms of the mineral valued at Sh6.2 billion in 2010 to Italy, South Africa, Canada and Dubai.

The documents show the gold originated from Turkana, Migori, Moyale, West Pokot, Lodwar, Kapenguria, Siaya, Kakamega and Nandi.

Officials at the mines and geology department said all the companies that were behind the export were genuine and licensed to handle the gold in the period under review.

The department released the data on Wednesday to discount earlier press reports that suggested two separate consignments of 400 kilograms and two tonnes of the precious metal may have been exported from Kenya after being brought to the country from DRC Congo.

Media reports last week insinuated that more than 2.4 tons of the precious mineral passed through the country to Dubai in the said period with the aid of senior government officials. The officials say during the period no gold was brought from outside on transit to any foreign country.

But officials said the claims were fictitious out to con unsuspecting buyers.

"Such reports are totally fictitious, there was nothing like that," an official at the geology department said.

Documents in our possession show how three Congolese suspects- Jean Claude Dyansangu Kanza, Jean Claude Mundeke Kabara alias General and Ruphin Kazadi Elumba allegedly conned a Gabonese national Ulrich Anass Bongo Ngonyi of a staggering Sh115.8 million in false pretence that they could supply him with 400 kilograms of gold.

The case in which they have been accused of conspiracy to defraud and obtaining money by false pretences is still pending in court.

Investigations by police show Ngonyi walked to the Economics Commercial Crimes Unit (E.C.C.U) offices at CID Headquarters on April 1, 2011 and introduced himself as a businessman dealing in the trade of buying and selling gold.

He said in his statement that during the month of June, 2010 he was contacted through telephone by one Lieutenant General Mundeke who allegedly informed him that he had in his possession 400 Kgs of 'gold' which he was offering for sale, and requested to meet.

The two met at a hotel on Lenana road in Nairobi during which Mundeke reportedly arrived with his co-accused who presented themselves as a captain, a major and a special advisor at the Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The police statement shows that they both informed Ngonyi that the 400 kilograms of 'gold nuggets' was lying in Dubai and were intended for shipment to Thailand, but were unable to ship them.

"Their intention was to ship it back to Kenya, for which they were looking for a market," Ngonyi wrote in his statement to the police.

The suspects further told him that they were in a position to supply him with larger volumes of gold if he showed commitment to the deal.

For the first consignment, they reportedly settled on a supply of 400 kgs and signed a contract for delivery, sale and purchase of gold nuggets on July 9, 2010.

Ngonyi told police he paid the three cash in US $6000 as a down payment for the transaction before he was supplied with fake documents, according to the police statement.

The three kept supplying him with fake documents prompting him to pay to facilitate the freight of the cargo from Dubai to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and further freight again to Dubai where he was to receive the gold nuggets in four metal boxes.

At the end of it, he paid US $1,378,418 equivalent to Sh115,811,976 but when he flew to collect the consignment in Dubai he only found that the boxes did not contain "gold" as purported but had nails.

"That was when he flew back to Nairobi where he reported the matter," a police officer privy to the investigation said.

Investigations were commenced, leading to the arrest and prosecution of the three suspects on May 11, 2011 and were charged with conspiracy to defraud and obtaining money by false pretence.

The three were later released on a cash bail of Sh2 million with a Kenyan surety and their passports confiscated.

A duplicate file was sent to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions which sought for the mutual legal assistance from Dubai authorities to enable the investigating team visit Dubai and verify the four boxes of their contents.

Authorities in the UAE are yet to respond.

The documents given to Ngonyi to 'enable the movement of the gold' were verified at the DRC Embassy in Nairobi and their contents were reported to be forgeries.

Further investigations made at the registrar of companies revealed that the companies, which were alleged to have consigned the goods from Kenya were registered in the names of Mundeke.

Investigators who handled the matter told Capital FM News that they are certain they will achieve a conviction of the three and that all they are waiting for is the recovery of the four boxes, which contained the nails.

"The file has not been closed, an investigation is still going on and as soon as all the evidence that is crucial is obtained, the case will move to court," another investigator said.

It has since emerged that the suspects packaged the nails in a house on State House Road in Nairobi and shipped them to Dubai hood-winking Ngonyi that they contained gold.

Police later raided the house and seized some of the materials that were used in assembling the boxes and nails.

Kenyan investigators also concluded that that the alleged 2.4 tonnes of gold valued at Sh8 billion that is said to have been stolen from DRC Congo and passed through Nairobi was not genuine.

"There was no gold, there was nothing of that sort, this is an international con game," the police officer said. "It is an international racket."

Documents in our possession show the claim was first lodged in Nairobi in February 2011 by a team of ministers who were sent into the country by DRC President Joseph Kabila.

The team gave President Mwai Kibaki a document that contained forged evaluation and export certificates pertaining to the 2.4 tonnes of gold valued at Sh8 billion destined for Dubai from Kivu mining through Kenya.

President Kabila later arrived in the country with a list of 15 suspects that were said to be behind the alleged stealing of the precious minerals from his country.

A joint investigative team comprising of CID officers, Kenya Revenue Authority and those from DRC was formed and visited Jomo Kenyatta International Airport customs offices among other key areas for the investigation.

"From KRA records covering the period January 2010 and January 2011 indicated that about 2.4 tonnes of gold was processed for various destinations," says part of an official report on the investigations.

However, the printout from Emirates and Qatar airlines covering the period January 1 and February 24 did not have export of gold cargo as alleged in the DRC documents.

The team also visited several places that the DRC documents showed the gold passed through but none was proved.

"It was a high-level kind of con game, there was nothing like gold," he said.

The team also obtained search warrants which enabled them to visit various homes of the 15 suspects who were named in the list but no recovery was made.

All they found were forged documents and seals and some of them were later charged with preparing to commit a crime.

The report by head of the investigating team Francis Njiru concluded that no gold was exported from Kenya in the said period, a fact corroborated by the Mines and Geology headquarters.

"So far, after perusing all records and registers and from searches conducted, it is evident that no gold of such value was exported during the period under inquiry," the police team concluded.

However, records revealed that a small amount of gold was exported by genuinely registered companies," part of the report read.

"It is therefore, ridiculous when someone says there was gold brought to Kenya and shipped out of the country to Dubai," the officer said.

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