Interpol called in to probe blood gold

March 7, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 7 – Kenya has now asked the International Police (Interpol) to help them investigate the mysterious disappearance of gold worth Sh8 billion was smuggled from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

CID Director Ndegwa Muhoro confirmed last evening that they had formally asked Interpol to assist unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of the precious metal that went missing from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

Police believe the gold smuggled from the DRC was en-route to South Africa or Dubai at the time it disappeared, and want international police in the two countries to aid probe how the gold was shipped and its final destination.

Kenya and the DRC have launched a joint investigation on the smuggled gold following last week\’s visit to Nairobi by DRC President Joseph Kabila who led a high powered delegation seeking to know the truth about the precious metal stolen from the central African country.

"The governments of Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo have established a joint team to investigate alleged trade in illegal gold. The team will work closely with the teams in the two countries that had already begun investigations on alleged trade in illegal gold," a statement from the Presidential Press service sent out to newsrooms soon after the two Heads of State met said.

Last week, Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti told a media conference that detectives from both teams had already interrogated several unnamed suspects over the gold syndicate but he did not provide further details.

Capital News independently established that those interrogated so far are eight suspects including customs officials and police officers based at entry and exit points including at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

The detectives are now planning to interrogate some influential businessmen men and a female political activist with ties to senior government officials in the country.

"Several suspects have been questioned so far including renowned gold dealers but there are more people to be questioned," a senior police officer privy to the investigations said and revealed that detectives undertaking the probe were frustrated in their investigations and were worried if they will be able to question top some of the top officials involved.

The probe is made complex due to the fact that already a senior assistant commissioner at the Kenya Revenue Authority Joseph Cheptarus who was also involved in the investigations was gunned down outside his home in South \’C\’ estate a week ago.

"It is a complex investigation but we are willing to ensure it goes on to its logical conclusion," one detective said.

On Monday, the CID director said they had decided to enlist the services of Interpol to help in the investigations because it extends to South Africa, Dubai and other European countries where dealers are known to sell the smuggled gold.

Last week, Professor Saitoti said the probe will not only be limited to Kenya "I can tell you the investigation has gone very far.  First of all, some people have been interrogated and more are going to be investigated."

He said a joint team of investigators would travel to Zaire, Dubai and South Africa to seek more information about how the $96.3 million worth of gold disappeared.

The gold is said to have been smuggled from illegal minefields in the DRC and mysteriously disappeared at the JKIA, before Kenya Revenue Authority officials even knew what had been shipped in.

It is believed officials in the DRC blew the cover after they began tracing the suspicious movement of the precious cargo only to learn that it could not be traced.

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