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Economy

Jared Otieno, 15 others charged in fake gold scam

fake gold
Some of the suspects charged with conspiracy to defraud a Laotian national when they appeared in court. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NMG 

Sixteen people among them businessman Jared Otieno were Tuesday charged with obtaining Sh300 million from a man from Laos, pretending that they would sell him gold.

The accused persons will however remain in custody until May 27, awaiting a pre-bail report.

Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi said since the accused persons were from different social backgrounds, a pre-report will assist him in arriving at a fair bail terms for all the accused persons.

Mr Otieno, together with Mr Philip Nashon Aroko, Mr Robert Ouko Owiti and Mr Ricky Ochieng denied that on diverse dates between February 8 and February 25, 2019 at Kaputei Gardens, with intent to defraud, they obtained from Sounthorn Chanthavong, a director of Simoung Group Company US $ 3 million (about Sh300 million).

The court heard that they pretended that they had genuine gold.

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The four together with Peter Omondi, Michael Ochieng, Paul Otieno, Alice Nzisa, Joyce AKinyi and Julie Kathambi as well as Seinim Boukar, Abuona Temoua and Albert Lokunda Lokole and four others, denied a charge of conspiracy to defraud. It is alleged that using fraudulent tricks and displaying heavy metal boxes, parked with genuine gold bars and an office trading as Nirone Safe Keeping, pretended to be carrying out genuine gold business.

They were further accused of counterfeiting Ghana customs authority stickers’ trademarks, purporting them to be genuine.

Through their lawyers Clif Ombeta and Stanley Kangahi among others, the accused persons pleaded with the court to be released on lenient bond terms.

Mr Ombeta said Mr Okoth was a student at Riara University while Lokole was to report to college the day he was arrested.

Mr Andayi further heard that some of the accused persons were gardeners, cleaners and cooks and persons of humble means and the amount mentioned in the charge sheet should not “blind” the court.

The court heard that between February 8 and 25, 2019 Mr Chanthavong, who deals in buying and selling of gold, was allegedly lured to house No.12 at Kaputei Gardens in Nairobi’s Kileleshwa area and lost US$3 million, after being duped that the items he bought were genuine gold.

Three weeks ago, the police raided the house allegedly owned by Mr Otieno and arrested 15 people in connection with the fraud. The 15 were produced in court and the police were allowed to detain them.

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