Kenyan detectives have today nabbed international fake gold scammer Andre Ishikunga Kongolo alias Joseph Kimo after several unsuccessful attempts.
The scammer was arrested in Nairobi following a morning raid at an apartment in Kilimani and will be arraigned in court to answer several charges of swindling several foreign investors with fake gold and forgery of documents.
The head of Special Crime Prevention Unit Pius Gitari confirmed the arrest after he had slipped their traps for almost two months.
Kongolo who has all along been conducting his trade in Kenya and Uganda using a false name Joseph Kimo, is a citizen of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by birth but is believed that he recently acquired a Kenyan citizenship through his wife’s political connections and liquidness. The wife hails from Migori.
Kongolo, who has several criminal records under the false name, is believed to be operating smoothly with sleek cars and organizing meetings with his unsuspecting clients at posh hotels to cut an image of a genuine gold dealer. At some times he even dons a uniform worn by customs officers who are on duty.
In September 2019, Kongolo under the name John Kimo defrauded a Ukrainian businessman out of nearly Sh1 billion, leaving him stranded in Nairobi for several days.
Hennadii Kovalenko had travelled to East Africa three years ago to buy 350 kilograms of gold using his savings and borrowed money, according to a local daily newspaper.
In pursuit of what promised to be a profitable gold business, he landed in Uganda to purchase 350kgs of gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo at a reduced price of $27,000 per kilo, which translate to $9,459,000 (about Sh945 million then).
Kovalenko had already found a purchaser for his gold with a Dubai processor and expected to earn a profit of at least $4 million after all expenses – including freight, commissions, warehousing and taxes.
Several months after he spent his money to buy gold, the foreigner got stuck in Kenya after realizing that he was a victim of fake gold fraudsters.
After the purchase, he believed his consignment was ferried to Kenya for shipment to Dubai but the package is nowhere to be found.
He reported the matter to the police and shared details of the Kenyan logistics company that received his cargo for shipment to Dubai.
However, only junior employees were arrested and charged with attempted fraud, while the company’s senior officials remained at large.
Authorities said they only recovered fake gold when they raided Afrisolutions Limited offices in Nairobi. The firm owned by Kongolo currently don’t have a physical address.
Speaking to journalists in 2019, Kovalenko insisted that the consignment delivered from Uganda was genuine gold, saying that he personally tested it at the Department of Mining laboratory in Nairobi, where it was confirmed to be 99 percent pure. He even had the certificates to prove it.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Nairobi took up his case and has twice written to Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeking intervention.
“The Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Kenya presents its compliments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya and has the honor to kindly request the assistance in the objective and impartial consideration by the competent authorities of the case of CID/C/GEN/Comp/6.12/2019/54 of 16.01.2019, which has been opened according to the claim by Hennadii Kovalenko,” a letter dated March 21st, 2019 read.
The Embassy sent a follow up letter to the ministry in July this year.
In statements recorded with the police, Kovalenko indicated that his gold had in January 2018, on being ferried to Kenya from Uganda, entrusted to two individuals named Joseph Kimo, director of Afrisolutions Ltd.
On April 5, 2019, police arrested three Afrisolutions employees; Consolata Achieng Kwendete, Washington Libese and Enock Mungwana Okonda, described as a tea girl, a gardener and a caretaker.
The three were charged with intent to defraud, receiving in cash $1,059,000 from Kovalenko by falsely pretending that they were in a position to sell to him gold. The court was told that they committed the offenses together with others not before the court.
Kovalenko said Afrisolutions officials kept on demanding cash from him for clearance of his shipment, which they claimed was detained at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) by customs officers.
Japanese born American citizen Masaaki Nashimoto was another victim of Kongolo after being conned Sh 226 million (2m dollars) meant for 1,200kg of gold that was never delivered.
Nashimoto, the Director of a multimillion firm MSA International Limited that operates from Hong Kong, through his Africa agent, Zambian lawyer Kasongo Jackson Chilufya, were duped by Kongolo, once again under the name Joseph Kimo of passport number A2019102 into paying for non-existing gold.
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