As the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) casts his nets deep over increasing cases of counterfeit currency and gold business, it’s estimated that 20 Members of Parliament are among state officials making billions from the illegal venture.
The cunning legislators are said to have links with rogue police officers fast-talking wheeler-dealers, immigration officers, bankers, high-end hotels and judicial officers, who share the billions scammed from victims drawn from as far overseas.
The Standard reports that the fraudsters in some cases, use scouts to get deals done.
They send scouts to popular tourist destinations like Dubai, where they check into presidential suites in five-star hotels and pretended to be mingling with the rich and famous.
So intricate are their schemes that the planners open as many as 50 Facebook accounts using all manner of disguises including ‘using love’ to get things done quickly.
In some cases, they are reported to pose as super-rich businessmen who can assist one make instant millions of shillings in Nairobi.
“After seducing their victims, they send consignments and even have clearing agents call you to inform you a gift has arrived. This is where the game begins, for after being shown the consignment, the prey is informed that they need to pay the insurance,” a source intimated to the local daily.
Once the insurance deal is settled, the real extortion starts.
One such move is a fake technician drenching a small bunch of notes with chemicals “to remove UN rubber stamps on the notes,” and later offer the dollars to the unsuspecting beneficiary of the ‘windfall.’
After the fraud exercise, the fake technician proceeds to a bank and purchase genuine dollar notes and then pretend that they came from the consignment. The move is so bold that the prey can’t suspect anything.
Having successfully convinced the victim, the fraudsters then say they need SSD chemical gas so that they can erase the stamp.
This is when they con the victim huge sums of money. It’s reported that a cylinder of SSD chemical cost Sh3,000, but the fraudsters ask for Sh2.5 million.
In Kenya, the local daily reported that there are printers in Luthuli, Khoja and Kirinyaga roads, whose specialty is bulk printing of counterfeit currency.
The fraudsters reportedly use rented houses to print the money.
Such houses are equipped with the printers, and have supplies of vitamin C, iodine liquid, paper cutting machines and rims of white papers.
The cartels go ahead to obtain safe boxes in certain banks for their prey. Thereafter, the investor feels secure.
The illegal business has reportedly taken root into the country to an extent that the scammers charge Sh60,000 to make counterfeits of Sh20 million, while printing fake $100 million attracts a fee of between Sh500,000 and Sh1 million.
The local media outlet reported that this is the money the racketeers have to invest before they approach other gullible “investors” to con. The process loops.
The conning scheme has extended to fake deals involving gold. The business is said to target clients outside Kenya, who are fleeced millions in the form of insurance and bank charges, and are then directed to deposit millions into accounts which are mostly in Turkey.
The counterfeiters, mostly Kenyans, team up with Nigerians to run the illegal business.
They run the deals in Parklands, Kilimani, Lavington and Eastleigh.
Some of the money printed by the cartels is reportedly smuggled to refugee camps, South Sudan and Somalia, where people trade in US dollars. Most of it is said to be used to run criminal activities.
Last week, Police from the Flying Squad department nabbed Ksh2 billion in a safe container at Barclays Bank, Queens Way Branch.
During the incident, the police arrested six suspects among them Dr Eric Adede, a former aspirant for Gor Mahia chairmanship.
Adede, a lawyer by profession, is the owner of the safe box which was used to hide the amount.