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Kenyans on Twitter have called for the arrest of Zaheer Jhanda over gold scams that have become a matter of public interest but have never been acted on by the relevant agencies. Using the hashtag #ArrestZaheer, Twitter users have also accused Zaheer Jhanda of grabbing land belonging to the Kisii Regional Artificial insemination centre.
A few days ago, he hired bodaboda guys to push a section of the wall but they were later apprehended and confessed that they were not aware it was Government land. The social media users have been wondering how many pieces of land Zaheer has grabbed before and if the grabbed lands are the source of cash for his flashy life.
It is alleged that Zaheer is the ring leader of gold scammers in Kenya and has for a long time evaded the long arm of the law because he eats together with law enforcement officers who have made it a habit to eat from the disgraced fellows. Zaheer Jhanda was profiled as a person of interest in the conning of the United Arab Emirates ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Al Maktoum complained to President Uhuru Kenyatta that his gold had been seized at JKIA for months on its way to Dubai from DR Congo.
When the President investigated he learned that there was no such gold and ordered the crackdown of those involved. According to investigators, Jhanda is said to have initiated the transaction that roped in an impersonator of CS Fred Matiang’i and an elaborate group of people both in and outside government. “The group has infiltrated the government and have their protectors in the system,” said a police officer probing the issue. Gold scammers have become the major money-launders in the country as they clean their money through an elaborate money-laundering system aided by lawyers.
Money laundering is always facilitated by lawyers in Kenya, its lawyers who use their connections to help looters take their money to tax havens. A senior lawyer in Kenya is known for helping his Somali community launder their cash in Nairobi. Jared Otieno the man who has been at the Centre of the gold scam a few months ago spent two weeks in jail. Together with 15 other people in the syndicate, Jared was arrested after it emerged he orchestrated the biggest gold scam in the country.
It is alleged that using fraudulent tricks and displaying heavy metal boxes, parked with genuine gold bars and an office trading as Nirone Safe Keeping, pretended to be carrying out genuine gold business. One of the key players in this fraud schemes is lawyers who ensures the transactions are done and made look like a legit business while with full knowledge of fraud being committed. Because such business can’t be done in any legal way, gold scammers have been known to engage lawyers to facilitate the transactions. Money that goes through lawyers somehow has some immunity from accountability.
In the case of Simuong Group Ltd getting defrauded by Jared Otieno, one of the City’s top-paid lawyers Tom Ayieko Okundi was at the centre stage. It is evident from court documents that since the business they were engaging in wasn’t legitimate, transactions would be made in a legal way. A plot was hatched to disguise the money from Simuong Group to Jared made look like a loan. So Ayieko Of Okundi &Co Advocates drew a loan agreement between Jared who used a lady named Rose Adhiambo Omamo as her pawn in the deal as the borrower and Simuong as the lender.
Ayieko commissioned the oath, interestingly, he was representing both the borrower and lender with all glaring conflicts of interests, and signing was just a formality. A Nairobi court froze two accounts belonging to Okundi’s law firm suspected to be holding funds alleged to be proceeds of fake gold. Principal magistrate Martha Nanzushi allowed the application by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) to freeze two accounts of Okundi & Company Advocates for three months.
The court was told that the two accounts, one at Stanbic Bank and another at Standard Chartered, hold $3 million (about Sh300 million), on behalf of Jared Kiasa Otieno and Chris Philip Okeyo Obure. An expert says, with lawyers like Tom Okundi and the entire system salivating for the gold scams money, it will be very hard to fight the gold scammers