Bungoma senator and the bullish Interior CS Fred Matiang’i have been linked to a Sh400 million gold sale scandal that involves prominent personalities from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In a damning report dubbed “Report of Zandi”, the senator is said to have been the intermediary in the deal that ripped off the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and ruler of the Emirate of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The dossier details the meetings between the legislator and Mr Ali Zandi, the Sheikh’s nephew and a representative of Zlivia, a gold trading company based in Dubai.
The scheme started on September 25, 2018 when a Kenyan gold trader promised to ship 5.1 tons of gold from Ndande Tribe in DRC to Kenya by road.
Two days later, the consignment would allegedly be detained at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. This prompted Mr Zandi, to seek for help from the Ford Kenya party leader’s help.
On Zandi’s invitation, Wetangula flew to Duabi on December 15, 2018 for a meeting during which he assured that the goods would be released.
Invoking the name of CS Matiang’i, the senator asked for a Sh200 million bribe to have the gold released.
But an impressed sheikh instead flew to Nairobi on December 24, 2018. He stayed at the Serena Hotel for a maximum 4 days.
The next day, the dossier reveals, he is taken to a warehouse by Zaheer Jhanda and another individual identified as a police officer, Michael Waweru. He was shown the detained cargo.
Later, Wetangula is said to have reached out to the Zlivia company rep reducing the initial ask from Sh200 million to Sh70 million. He promised to have the goods shipped to Dubai within three days.
On January 21, Zandi was booked into Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel where he demanded to meet the senior government official. It is then that he allegedly met Matiang’i at Karen Blixen where the CS maintained that the goods would be delivered on January 25, 2019.
Sheikh Maktoum on January 24 pens a letter to Matiangi requesting the speedy release of his goods but no official response was made.
Again, the letter details that Zandi was between January 25/26 blindfolded and taken to a safe house well guarded by Administration Police officers. Here he was introduced to Chris Obure and was presented with what he claimed was “fake gold.”
On February 11, a Don Bosco Gichana at the cargo area of JKIA asks for Sh75 million or the safe return of his goods.
The sheikh is taken to an office block under construction at the cargo area with a customs agent, shipping handlers, and a Roata Viktor who claimed to be with the Drugs and Crime Department at the United Nations, present.
The next day, the sheikh meets Mr Viktor at Weston hotel where he is convinced that chartering a local flight will attract little to no attention when moving the goods.
They charter a plane, 5Y MSA owned by Micasa Company at the Wilson airport.
The flight was scheduled to depart at 5:50am from JKIA, but when Zandi got to the airport, he was denied entry into the cargo.
It is then, the report details that, Matiangi informed him that special forces were surrounding the plane. This was done to allegedly protect the goods that were under threat of theft by Mr Viktor.
Fast forward to March 7, 2019, Mr Zandi paid Sh45 million for the grounded plane.
Later a story about the gold scandal would be printed in the local dailies. The news prompted Wetangula to advise the sheikh about his departure from the country for the sake of his own safety.
The Zlivia company rep chartered a helicopter to Kisumu and a private jet to Dubai.
Wetangula has since denied the claims saying that his political enemies are trying to tarnish his name. He does however acknowledge knowing some of the players.
Through his aides, the senator said that he too lost a huge chunk of money in the deal gone wrong.
“This was a business deal gone sour that is now being peddled around by his business partners, who also lost money in the business transaction. It is very unfortunate that some people are now trying to politicise the whole matter in which the Senator lost huge amounts of money,” Chris Mandu told People Daily.
Yesterday, DCI sleuths nabbed several blocks of suspected fake gold at a home in Kileleshwa.
DCI George Kinoti has also urged foreigners to consult the police and the Department of Geology whenever they intend to purchase gold.
“The gold scam has now reached alarming levels as unsuspecting foreign nationals are being swindled of large amounts of money by fraudsters,” he said.
Matiang’i through an aide identified as Brian Mamboleo, rubbished the claims.
“Those screenshots are manufactured to taint the minister. He can’t participate in businesses which he’s fighting against daily. Someone somewhere is not happy with him and wants him to be victimised.
We urge members of the public to ignore such misleading reports. Those behind the scheme will be arrested and prosecuted. Sanity must be restored in Kenya,” he is quoted by a local blog.