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A city gold dealer was yesterday charged with forging three mineral licences from the Ministry of Mining in a bid to defraud foreign investors in fake gold deals.

Kelvin Otieno Onyango alias Sonko who appeared before magistrate Benmark Enkhubi denied seven charges of forgeries.

In the first count, Onyango was charged that at an unknown place within the Republic of Kenya, with intent to defraud, without lawful authority or excuse, made a certain document namely Mineral Dealer’s licence registration number MDL/T/DTL/2024/004 for Cargocare Freight Forwarders purporting it to be a genuine document duly issued by the Ministry of Mining a fact he knew to be false.

He was also charged with making two other false mineral licence numbers MDL/T/DTL/2024/0 324 and MDL/T/DTL/2021/0278 for Twinstar Freight Forwarders and Pivot Point Freight Limited respectively.

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After denying the charges, he sought to be released on reasonable bail terms saying he would abide by all the conditions set by the court.

Magistrate Enkhubi ordered Onyango to be freed on a bail of Ksh300,000 or a cash bail of Ksh200,000 with two contact persons.

The case will be mentioned on March 6, 2024.

The businessman was arrested on Friday by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) at his office at the China Wu Yi Plaza following a complaint by a Chinese national who claims he was conned in a gold deal.

The DCI investigations reveal the youthful businessman is linked to be the key suspect in a fraud where the Chinese investor lost Ksh151 million.

The Chinese businessman is said to have paid the amount for containers of tantalum minerals which were reportedly from Congo but were intercepted in Mombasa and found to be soil instead of the said minerals.

The ‘minerals’ had already been paid for in the hundreds of millions with the new owners unaware it was a scam, according to the DCI.

Fake gold scammers
The DCI detectives probe indicates that the incident is linked to fake gold scammers who used to operate in Nairobi’s Kilimani area using Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

“There were reports that the main suspect was at the Kilimani offices of Kelvin. Detectives raided the scene but the main suspect was not found. It is suspected he was tipped off and escaped,” a detective aware of the probe said.

About ten suspects were arrested from Sonko’s office but all, except Sonko, were released on Saturday, February 24.

Some of the fraudsters linked to Sonko are suspected to have shifted operations to Mombasa and colluded with officials of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

The DCI had launched investigations and intercepted the consignment at the Mombasa container terminal (MCT).

The DCI officers believe the two containers were just about to be shipped to China as well. The containers were finally opened, and inside were reconditioned metallic drums which were loaded with sand as tantalum minerals.

At the centre of investigations is a suspect by the name Lumumba Patrick who is said to be collaborating with fake gold scammers in Congo and Uganda.

Meanwhile, a video clip has gone viral showing Kelvin Onyango in the company of National Assembly Speaker Moses Masika Wetangula with foreigners at a private function.

In 2019 a leaked audio tape put Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula at the heart of a multi-million shilling fake gold scandal.

Just before he became Speaker, detectives revealed that the Ford Kenya leader was a person of interest.

In the audio conversation, Wetang’ula dropped the names of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga to assure a Dubai gold investor believed to be Ali Zandi that their detained consignment would be released.

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