17 May 2019

Kenya: Gold Scam - More to Be Arrested, Says Matiang'i,

Photo: Daily Nation
Zaheer Merhali Jhanda poses with bunches of cash. He has been roped into the fake gold trade.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i Friday warned that the days of gold scammers were numbered and revealed that major arrests were planned where a man linked to the Saudi royal family was conned out of Sh400 million.

This is after a recorded audio was widely circulated in which a person sounding like Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula was captured discussing gold exports with the alleged member of the royal family.

LEAKED AUDIO

In the leaked audio, whose authenticity we could not immediately verify, the person drops the names of President Uhuru Kenyatta, opposition leader Raila Odinga and Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i, claiming they were all privy to the gold exports.

Mr Wetang'ula did not return our calls when we sought his comments on the audio tape but an aide who sought anonymity because he did not have his permission to comment on the matter denied that the voice belonged to the senator.

"That is not the voice of mheshimiwa, it is all politics targeting the 2022 elections," said the aide.

State House spokesperson Kanze Dena, when reached, declined to comment on the matter, as did Dr Matiang'i. "No comment," said Ms Dena in a short text message.

Dr Matiang'i on his part said he could not comment because the matter was under active investigations.

"I cannot comment because this is an ongoing investigation but more arrests will be made," he told Saturday Nation.

Detectives have, through those arrested and interrogated so far, managed to piece together an intricate web of top politicians who are part of the syndicate, according to sources.

PLANE OWNER

To date, the identity of the owner of the house in Kilimani where 15 suspects were arrested on Monday is yet to be known.

Sources told the Saturday Nation that it belongs to a politician from Western Province who has since gone into hiding and is trying to negotiate with detectives in order to avoid arrest.

The deep involvement of politicians in the con games is believed to be part of the reason why the police have been slow to act on those at the centre of the Sh400 million scam.

On Friday detectives from the DCI raided a warehouse at Wilson Airport that is linked to the scam.

It is not clear what they were looking for but sources revealed that they could have been in pursuit of the owner of a plane used in the scam.

The Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, in a meeting with the Editors Guild echoed the warning of the Interior CS.

"Just keep a watch of the next few hours and you will be shocked at what will happen," Mr Kinoti told editors.

However despite the tough talk, police are yet to question Mr Wetangula or politician Zaheer Jhanda who we learnt was at his residence in Riverside, Nairobi despite earlier reports that he had fled the country. Mr Kinoto had on Thursday said Mr Wetangula would be interrogated in connection with the matter.

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