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Trade in fake money earns duo 10-year prison term

Cameroon national Ousman Ibrahim Bako (left)
Cameroon national Ousman Ibrahim Bako (left) and his Nigerien counterpart Mohammed Sani before a Nairobi court yesterday where they were found guilty of faking US dollars amounting to Sh1.3 billion. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU 

Two foreigners were Thursday sentenced to 10 years in prison for participating in a transnational fake foreign currency trading ring amounting to Sh110 billion.

Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi found Mohammed Sani alias Dr Mustafa from Niger and Ousman Ibrahim Bako, a Cameroonian, guilty of being in possession of equipment used to make fake currency.

“I am convinced that the prosecution has proved its case against the accused persons beyond any reasonable doubt,” Mr Andayi said.

Besides the ten-year jail term, they will serve an additional six months in prison for being in Kenya illegally and for engaging in employment without being authorised to do so.

The duo was arrested in 2016 at Nairobi’s Diamond Park 11 Estate after residents identified them as part of a multi-billion shilling fake currency racket.

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Fake currency

Police found fake currency notes as well as money printing machines, cutters, scanners, five safes, two computers, chemicals, masks and foil paper in their house at the time of arrest.

Inspector- General of police Joseph Boinett ordered the arrest after he received information from the Government of Comoros that certain foreigners in Kenya were manufacturing fake notes and circulating them in the island nation.

The suspects were charged with being in possession of 5,344,500 fake Euro notes and 13, 156, 400 fake US dollar notes, and scanner bottles of iodine used for making the said foreign currency.

Some 6,931,000 pieces of paper intended to make fake US dollar currency notes as well as 739,200 more for faking Euro currency were also recovered.
Prosecutors also charged the duo with the offence of obtaining money by false pretence, and intending to defraud security printer De La Rue of Sh26 billion .
They have been in police custody since their arrest two years ago.

During the trial, a US Secret Service agent, Chris Goode, told court that the currency seized during the duo’s arrest was fake.

Substantive sample
Even though he admitted that not all of the seized counterfeit cash was counter checked to verify their individual serial numbers, Mr Goode said a substantive sample was checked by US criminal investigators and found to be fake.

Prosecutors said it was a complaint from businessman Omar Hussein AbdiSalaam that led to the successful arrest of the accused. He had been conned of more than Sh40 million in a foreign currency transaction.
The businessman fell into the trap having trusted duo as fellow Muslims who wanted to sell him ‘goods’ in a container from Syria.
Parties to the transaction held various meetings where he gave them cash to help them ship in the said goods and in exchange get 50 per cent of it.

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