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,
1Uhuru defends Ruto over ICC as Ngilu, Kambi out President Uhuru Kenyatta has told off leaders for citing the ongoing International Crimina...
2Soldiers arrest young ‘brides’ on their way to join Al-Shabaab Military officers have arrested three young women believed to be Al-Shabaab sympathisers i...
3Long Uhuru, Ruto meeting that led to disclosure of graft probe list Details have emerged of a close to five-hour meeting at State House between President Uhur...
4More CORD MPs speak out on EACC list of shame The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy kept up its criticism of President Uhuru Kenyatta'...
5I’m both man and woman and am proud of it- Gospel Singer His life has been an empty shell, filled with shame and guilt, for 35 years. Coming to ter...
1Moi, Lenana return to national hockey stage Moi Girls Nairobi and Lenana School will return to the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association ho...
2Women take up karate for self defence When Canadians commissioned a world-class tae-won-do centre at the Kenya Fluorspar Mining in Elgeyo ...
3BUMPER HARVEST: Paralympics qualify for 2016 Rio Games Kenya's Paralympics squad landed back on Saturday afternoon after a triumphant outing at the ninth T...
4Kisumu-based rally driver Chandu upbeat ahead of Safari Rally Kisumu-based rally driver Chandrakant Devji Chabhadia Chandu will be leaving nothing to chance durin...
5DWINDLING FORTUNES: Kenya end disastrous Hong Kong IRB series tour with Shield trophy The Kenya national sevens team ended their disastrous Hong Kong campaign by winning the Shield compe...
1From education, to selling mitumbas, 10 things you should know about singer Diamond Platnumz Diamond sold second-hand (mitumba) clothes, was a filling station attendant and was also a freelance...
2Lupita Nyong'o receives warm reception in Uganda ahead of her mission Hollywood star, Lupita Nyong’o, on Saturday March 28 jetted in Uganda to shoot her new film, Q...
3Why Tanzanian gospel artiste Rose Muhando aborted Energetic Tanzanian songbird Rose Muhando has come out clean about her life-threatening sickness and...
4Meet Zari Hassan's three sons whom she would import a maid and chef for Ugandan socialite and business woman, Zarinah Ntale, best known as Zari, is a mum of three boys whom...
5Jose Chameleone denies claims of being Illuminati as he reveals his denomination The claims have been going round just a few days after he bade farewell to his younger brother, AK47...