Dutch rally driver Bernhard ten Brinke is counting losses after suspected gold scammers from Kenya made away with Ksh171.32 million from his two companies.
Through his two companies, Three Gold BV and Bernhard ten Brinke Holding BV, Brinke was planning to buy gold worth Ksh2.1 billion from Kenyan company, Global Freight Management Limited.
Global Freight Management Limited is owned by George Fundu.
Brinke’s representatives in Kenya, Frank Wijnen and Ewout Haanstra signed a deal with Global Freight for the supply of 500kgs of gold on December 21, 2020.
The Ksh171.34 million was to be wired to a bank account owned by Ochieng’ Opiyo & Company Advocates, meant to cater customs payment, storage and other administrative costs.
However, the money was only to be transferred to Mr Fundu after a verbal approval from Mr Brinke to Mr Ochieng’.
The money was wired to Ochieng’ Opiyo & Company Advocates’ account at Sidian Bank on January 11, with a further Ksh2.43 million wired to Smart Ultra, a firm that allegedly stored the gold for Mr Fundu.
Mr Brinke’s representatives used at least Ksh20 million to charter private plane to transport the consignment, but Mr Fundu was not meeting his part of the bargain.
Mr Brinke alleges that Ochieng’ Opiyo & Company Advocates released the funds to Mr Fundu without his consent, which amounts to a breach of contract.
“Global Freight Management Limited however has failed, refused and/or declined to deliver the first gold shipment as was agreed in the sale and purchase agreement. It later turned out that the defendants herein were acting in concert and in a well-coordinated enterprise to defraud the plaintiffs of their hard-earned monies in the sum of USD 1,589,760 (Ksh171.34 million) in the pretext of a transaction for sale and purchase of gold,” Mr Brinke said in court papers.
According to preliminary investigations by Asset Recovery Agency, the Ksh171.34 million was wired to different individuals and institutions including Mubadala Merchants Limited (Ksh36.63 million), Doumbe Malonga Eddy Michel (Ksh11.86 million), First Cargo Logistics Limited (Ksh4.58 million in two accounts) and First Line Cargo Limited (Ksh823,392).
Other recipients of the money include Conrad Maloba & Associates (Ksh34.5 million), Odhiambo Talam & Company Advocates (Ksh20 million), Peva Cargo (Ksh47.7 million) and Granfield Investments (Ksh25.8 million).
ARA has since obtained court orders to freeze the bank accounts.