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3 Congolese charged over gold fraud

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 12 – Three Congolese nationals were on Thursday charged in Kenya with conspiring to defraud a trader in the pretext that they were in a position to sell 400 Kilogrammes of gold nuggets valued at over Sh115 million.

Jean Claude Kababa Mundeke alias General, Ruphin Kazadi Elumba and Jean Claude Kanza Dyansangu are accused of committing the offense on diverse dates between July 1 last year and February 14, 2011 in Nairobi.

A charge sheet read that the suspects jointly conspired to defraud Ulrich Annas Ngoyi Bongo jointly with others not before court by pretending they were undertaking genuine business as jewelers.

The trio are said to have claimed they were in a position to supply the gold upon remission of the amount which is equivalent to $1,378,714, a fact they knew was false.

They were also accused of fraudulently obtaining the money from the complainant.

The three, however, denied committing the offenses before Senior Principal Magistrate Grace Macharia and were remanded in custody until Tuesday next week.

The prosecution informed the court that police had recovered computers and other documentation that needed to be analysed in the presence of the accused persons.

Defence lawyers Cliff Ombetta and Stanley Kangai representing the accused persons did not object to the application.

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The suspects were arrested on Tuesday night, two months after an investigation into a 2.5 tonnes gold smuggling syndicate was launched after DRC President Joseph Kabila formally complained to President Mwai Kibaki.

Detectives have been investigating reports that the smuggled gold had disappeared from a warehouse in Nairobi soon after arrival from the DRC.

But police said they had been instructed to also investigate if indeed there was actual gold in the warehouse or whether it was only indicated on paper.

President Kabila is understood to have handed over a letter to the Kenyan government at the time, with names and companies believed to have been involved in the illegal gold trade.

Soon after President Kabila\’s visit, the Kenya government constituted a team that commenced a joint investigation with their DRC counterparts.

Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti at the time announced that legal action would be taken against individuals and companies found culpable.

A report of the investigation was sought in Parliament two weeks ago, but it has yet to be tabled.

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