24 April 2019

Kenya: Lawyer Bosek to Sue Japanese Businessman Over Bad Gold Deal

Prominent city lawyer Joel Kimutai Bosek has threatened to sue a Japanese national over allegations that he colluded with rogue businessmen to swindle him out of Sh72 million in a dubious gold scheme.

Mr Tasunori Asano, the Japanese businessman, told the Nation that Mr Bosek lured him into the deal with gold sellers and that he even handed him the role of being his manager and lawyer.

He said, however, that after the transactions took place, he remained Sh72.9 million poorer and without the gold.

In an interesting turn of events on Wednesday, Mr Bosek said he witnessed a gold transaction between Mr Asano and a Kenyan company, Custom Cargo Handling (CCH) Limited, at a venue in Lavington where several armed police officers were allegedly on standby, ostensibly to guard the gold.

'MALICIOUS CLAIMS'

In a sworn affidavit commissioned on Wednesday by E.K Kiprono Advocate, Mr Bosek poked holes into Mr Asano's version of the story saying it contained adverse, false, misleading and highly malicious allegations against him.

"The facts contained therein are grossly distorted, full of falsehoods and meant to subject me to public ridicule and [to cause me to] be shunned by right-thinking members of the society and indeed the international community," the lawyer said.

The advocate of the High Court denied any wrongdoing, saying he acted professionally and only pulled out of the deal when he became suspicious that the gold they intended to airfreight could have been smuggled into Kenya.

"[I paid] the gold dealers after I was instructed by my client. He is the one who was responsible for verifying whether the gold was there or not. My role was purely facilitating payments," said the owner of J.K. Bosek and Company Advocates.

He said his lawyer Kioko Kilukumi had written to Mr Asano with the intention to sue.

MINERAL EXTRACTION

Mr Bosek, who represented radio journalist Joshua Sang in the International Criminal Court, said he met the Japanese trader in February 2017 in the course of his duties through another client, Collins Abubwa, whom he had helped to register a company.

The lawyer claimed that on February 19, Mr Asano visited his law office and informed him that he was interested in the mineral extraction business in Kenya.

He said they agreed to this after he undertook due diligence to confirm that the businessman was in the country legally and that his company, World Gateway Japan Company Limited, existed.

"After a few days of knowing him, Asano requested the client's bank details so he could deposit funds for his company. The funds were to be appropriated upon his instructions," the affidavit says.

DISAGREEMENTS

Mr Bosek said that when called to witness the gold transaction, he found the agreement had already been drafted and the terms reached without his involvement.

"All that was remaining was signing and attesting," he said. "Upon perusing it, I deduced that both the seller and the buyer had already certified the purity and finesse of the gold at 99.9 percent. The agreement was executed by Thiago Desouda Machado, another legal representative of Asano's company."

Consequently, Mr Bosek claimed, Mr Asano asked him to release the funds in the account of Mr Solomon Ligaga, manager of CCH, whom he claimed he had known for only a week at the time of attesting to the agreement.

Mr Bosek said that he was caught up several times in a web of disagreements between the Japanese national and the gold sellers.

"It was becoming untenable for me to act in this matter. I requested the parties to each appoint other advocates or law firms. I learnt from a copy of the email correspondence between Asano and Solomon that the parties were having a problem obtaining documentation from origin," said the lawyer.

ASANO'S SIDE

However, Mr Asano had told the Nation that it was in 2016 when he contacted Kenyan logistics firm CCH through Mr Ligaga and partner Allan Collins Illunga, who agreed to sell him 100 kilograms of gold.

He claimed that due to the huge amount of money that was involved in the deal, he decided to involve a lawyer, and that Mr Ligaga and Mr Illunga introduced him to Mr Bosek on February 19, 2017.

In the first deal, they allegedly committed themselves to supplying him with 100 kilograms of gold, each kilo costing Sh300,000.

Mr Asano claims the lawyer then went ahead and drafted the first agreement in which the payment was to be channelled through his bank account.

But Mr Bosek said: "It is a lie for Asano to suggest that I introduced him to Solomon. I met Solomon for the first time when he was with Asano. Both of them came to my office with Mr Abubwa."

The businessman further said the trio promised he would get the gold within five days, but did not deliver, not even after a top up of Sh37.5 million which they said was the government tax before shipment of the consignment.

"I paid a total of $722080 (Sh72.2 million) to Mr Bosek to facilitate this transaction but I have received nothing in return. Mr Bosek should be investigated for criminal misconduct," he said in a police statement.

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