Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) detectives have seized a consignment of fake gold bars from a strong room belonging to Swissport transit freight station at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
According to DCI, the fake gold bars concealed in 31 boxes received from Uganda, had been stored at the airport by shadowy businessmen dealing in the lucrative gold business on the pretext that it was cargo awaiting transit to different destinations across the world.
“In a clever gold scam that has seen businessmen from across the world lose hundreds of millions of shillings, the cons have been luring unsuspecting investors to view the gold at the customs offices at JKIA, the region’s preferred international aviation hub.
“The phoney traders settled on Swissport freight, since it provides ground and cargo handling services in major airports across the globe, to store their fake consignments so as to avoid detection by detectives,” DCI said.
Once at the airport, a prospective buyer is lured to Swissport’s strong room, where what appears to be genuine gold bars are displayed.
The client is advised that once the transaction is completed, the gold will be shipped to any destination of his choice across the globe.
DCI added: “However, immediately the buyer is convinced that the transaction is above board and makes payments including customs and shipping costs, that marks the beginning of his tribulations.”
In one such deal gone sour, a businessman lost over Sh34 million to the tricksters, who immediately went underground after they received the payments.
In a well-coordinated and orchestrated scheme that detectives have been monitoring closely, the fraudsters began by acquiring posh premises in high end estates, guarded round the clock by police officers.
“It is in these upmarket establishments, where they perfected the art of international organized gold scam fraud, by luring unsuspecting genuine investors from across the world to part with millions of money in exchange of fake gold.
“Detectives stormed many such premises and spoilt their party. The creative criminals thought they were smarter than detectives and acquired bank safe deposit boxes as their next safe haven,” DCI stated.
They exploited the services of custody of private memorabilia and treasure banking and started depositing fake gold in banks.
Investors armed with genuine bank documents, were herded to the same banks to confirm the gold deposits and parted with millions in exchange with the fake gold.
“In an operation led by the DCI Director in March 2019, detectives had stormed a prominent international bank with tentacles across major world capitals, and discovered dozens of fake gold deposits, that had been shown to many traders who fell victim to the scheme.
“Following the collapse of this gimmick, the fraudsters have now reinvented themselves, and creatively devised a seemingly smart way of luring investors to airports, to be shown the gold,” DCI added.
Detectives have uncovered that the multi-million shilling conspiracy, is executed with the assistance of various agencies, including some government institutions.
“The Directorate of Criminal Investigations is cautioning anyone within or outside the country intending to venture in gold business, to be on the lookout not to fall prey to these amoebic fraudsters, who keep changing tactics and mode of operation. When the deal looks too good, think twice,” DCI advised.