A new twist in the ongoing fake gold syndicate probe after details of how opposition leader Raila Odinga played a part in exposing Kenyan fake gold scammers surfaced.
Odinga is reported to have detected the voice of a Kenyan man who was being presented as Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.
The Standard reports that Odinga had been invited to Dubai by Sheikh Mohammed to intervene so that his gold consignment that had purportedly been held at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) could be released.
During the meeting with Raila, Sheikh Mohammed phoned a Kenyan businessman who was facilitating the gold transaction.
The businessman then staged a conversation with a man he was claiming to be CS Matiang’i. The businessman pretended he was pleading with ‘Matiang’i’ to have the gold ‘consignment’ released.
During the conversation, the gold dealer asked Odinga to speak with Matiang’i and convince him to instruct JKIA officers to release the consignment.
However, Odinga realized the man he was speaking to was not Matiang’i since he is familiar with his voice.
“He put the phone on a loudspeaker and when Raila heard the voice of the other party, he intervened and declared it was not the CS. This ended the conversation,” The Standard quotes an official aware of the issue.
Aware of the potential diplomatic implications this would present, Odinga reportedly shared the matter with President Kenyatta. This was in April, weeks before the scandal was made public.
Late last month, Odinga and Kenyatta reportedly met the Sheikh in Dubai over the matter.
The two traveled to Dubai after attending the China Belt and Road forum in Beijing.
Several suspects have since been questioned over the gold scandal that allegedly saw Sheikh Mohammed lose Sh400 million.
Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti has indicated that Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula is among suspects lined up for questioning in connection with the scam.
“He is a person of interest, and we shall be interrogating him and all others mentioned to determine their degree of involvement,” Kinoti said.
Detectives attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigation on Monday raided a residential home in Riara and discovered fake gold smelting materials even as the probe that has shaken the nation intensifies.
According to DCI reports, burners, two gas cylinders and metallic plates shaped like ingots (a piece of metal, usually in the shape of a narrow brick) were nabbed.
According to (DCI) George Kinoti, once melted into ingots, the metal with insignificant gold content is then used to lure unsuspecting businessmen.
The detectives also identified the tenant of the house that was raided on Tuesday as Abdul Rashid.
He is said to have got wind of the impending raid and escaped before detectives arrived at the house.
DCI Kinoti said they have solid leads on suspects involved in the fake gold racket in Kilimani some of whom are influential businessmen, lawyers and judicial officers.
Kinoti also revealed that the suspects have been enjoying protection from some corrupt senior police officers and government officials.
Also under the DCI’s radar are officials at the Kenya Airports Authority and the Immigration Department.