Kenya a lucrative channel for illegal minerals tradersUpdated Saturday, December 29th 2012 at 00:00 GMT +3
By Standard On Saturday Team
|The illegal trade has been going on secretly for years with several top players apparently|
Billion of shillings worth of conflict minerals are traded through Kenya each year by a dangerous cartel of foreign criminals with local accomplices.
The illegal trade has been going on secretly for years with several top players apparently under the protection of influential politicians and rogue officers in the Kenya Police, we have learned. According to United Nations investigators, it has also spawned a wildly successful con game in which scam artists rob foreigners trying to buy “blood gold” from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their activities have come to light most recently thanks to the actions of a whistle-blower (see related story), dozens of victims and DRC president Joseph Kabila who demanded action after a gold consignment valued at Sh8 billion was smuggled through Kenya’s main airport.
The events that followed Kabila’s January 2011 intervention are the subject of the latest Jicho Pevu and Inside Story reports, ‘Dhahabu ya Mauti’ and ‘Blood on Gold’ by KTN’s Purity Mwambia and Dennis Onsarigo. The reports also include an exclusive interview with Gabonese businessman Ulrich Anass Bongo Ngoyi, who was defrauded of Sh117 million in August 2010 and now faces charges of allegedly conning one Gerald William Wamae of Sh5 million in a gold scam. Bizarrely, Bongo was arrested and charged in September, when he travelled to Kenya for an exclusive interview with KTN’s investigative team.
“I cannot rule out underhand dealings within the forces around the gold deals,” says a police officer that took part in the Bongo investigation. The officer, whose identity has been hidden for his own protection, says files, both originals and duplicates, and exhibits for the case were confiscated from investigators and are now “lost”. He complains that none of the materials in the 2010 case were presented in court, leading to the release of the main suspect, Jean Claude Mundeke Kabamba. General Mundeke Dako, as he is also called, is a Nairobi-based gold trader with alleged ties to the Kivu-based Forces Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo (FPLC). His name was at the top of a 15-suspect list presented to Kenyan police by President Kabila in the hunt for 2.5 metric tonnes of raw gold smuggled through Nairobi last year.
Police began their investigations into the raw gold case with a visit to the Customs office at JKIA on February 24 last year.
A day later, investigators were given a list of 15 people said to be part of the smuggling cartels in Nairobi (see list). On February 26, KRA official Joseph Cheptarus was shot dead in Nairobi by a group of four unidentified armed men.
It is unclear whether the shooting was linked to any role he played or might play in the investigation. While it has been reported he was part of the investigative team or had a preventive role, he could also have been a potential witness.
Apparently reacting to the killing and frustrated with the lack of progress, the DRC’s president made a dramatic unannounced visit to Kenya days later to meet with President Mwai Kibaki and then Internal Security Minister George Saitoti.
He asked Kenyan authorities to search a particular go-down in Embakasi and insisted on a public announcement of a joint effort to track the smugglers. The gold was never found. The hunt for the 15 suspected gold smugglers only led to about half a dozen arrests and, as yet, no convictions. Police say there is no evidence linking many of those named by Kabila to any wrongdoing.
Names provided by DRC President Kabila to Kenyan investigators
JOJO MANDIKI BIN LUYEYE (Jojo Mandiki Mapatai, a prominent gold dealer currently under arrest in the DRC)
• MUNDEKE DAKO (Jean Claude Mundeke Kabamba), former military officer
• ELISEE SOFAPAKA (real name Elly Kalekwa)
• EVARISTE BWAVWA KAZADI (aka Elka)
• JEAN CLAUDE MUTINDO
• JEAN CLAUDE (Kanza Dyansangu)
• JEAN PIERRE PALUKU
• JEAN PIERRE (last name unknown) JERRY FUMBULA KIALA
• ROBERT SUMBU alias ROBA, Kenyan
• JOHN LOPEZ (Lutuka Kibwenge aka John Kielende)
• YOUSOUF (Yusuf Omar), Cameroonian
• SIMON (Makiese Ngizulu alias Mike Kabeya)
• KONGOLO, alias DOCTA, Actual Name Unknown
• PASSY (actual name unknown
• PAUL KOBIA KABEBERIA aka M’Iburi or Choma or Illunga Ngoei,
110 signs your loving wife has mpango wa kando When a woman cheats, the kids will remain clean and well fed, dinner will be more sumptuou...
2Hallelujah! Sex has come to church- New trend in city churches It is a bulletin that would frighten the traditional church vicar to death: Different stro...
3My husband is blackmailing me - Gospel singer Gloria Muliro Gospel artiste Gloria Muliro is accusing her estranged husband of using blackmail to get h...
4Socialite Corazon Kwamboka quits celebrity life I don’t regret taking the photos but I feel like I really shouldn’t have taken...
5Resign? 'No, never', asserts Kaindi Tension and confusion reigned at Vigilance House, the headquarters of the National Police ...
1Did Singer Chameleone receive Sh14million from President Museveni? Heads Up’s sources in Uganda have hinted that Chameleone is among musicians whose music will ...
2Schools will remain closed if teachers are not paid — Wilson Sossion TSC is in contempt of the Court of Appeal? It has gone ahead to process the payroll without factorin...
3Real Madrid and ManU fight over DeGea Transfer business in the modern era surprisingly resembles the old barter trade, with all the ineffi...
4Sarah Hassan and Ali Kiba's girlfriend, Jokate, set to co-host new TV show Sarah will co-host the show with Tanzanian beauty Jokate Mwegelo. The show dubbed Mashariki Max was ...
5Socialite Corazon Kwamboka quits celebrity life I don’t regret taking the photos but I feel like I really shouldn’t have taken one or tw...
1My husband is blackmailing me - Gospel singer Gloria Muliro Gospel artiste Gloria Muliro is accusing her estranged husband of using blackmail to get her back....
2Hallelujah! Sex has come to church- New trend in city churches It is a bulletin that would frighten the traditional church vicar to death: Different strokes, the s...
3Married Nairobi women luring broke students to sex chamas Some women’s chamas in Nairobi are being used to hide married women’s sexual flings, The...
4Did Singer Chameleone receive Sh14million from President Museveni? Heads Up’s sources in Uganda have hinted that Chameleone is among musicians whose music will ...
5Chase away men who visit your house carrying condoms only- Orie Rogo Manduli What really goes on in a man’s mind when he visits his girlfriend’s house with a packet ...