Kenya has deported a Zambian national that police described as a notorious gold scammer who operated an international syndicate of fraudsters in Nairobi.
Mr Bupe Chipando, aka Elena, was deported following his arrest by transnational and organised crimes detectives after he defrauded a Dutch national of over Sh170 million in a fake-gold deal.
Mr Chipando was also previously linked to the printing of counterfeit currency.
Last year, his firm Alinani Precious Metals (APM) had announced plans to build a Sh1 billion gold processing plant on Mombasa Road in Nairobi at a cost of Sh1 billion targeting artisanal miners.
Mr. Chipando who is APM Chief Executive said at the time that the gold refinery project, whose construction was to start in early September, will offer miners the means to extract value from their own mineral wealth rather than just exporting raw commodities
He was ejected some minutes before midnight after Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i issued the deportation orders.
This was not the first arrest of fake-gold scammers who had defrauded foreigners.
In January, a Congolese man who had reportedly been on the run for four years was charged with defrauding a Ukrainian and a Japanese national of more than Sh680 million in a fake-gold deal.
The illicit trade is mainly concentrated in Nairobi’s high-end estates.
In a well-coordinated and orchestrated scheme, the fraudsters reside in expensive apartments that are guarded round the clock.
“It is in these upmarket establishments where they perfected the art of international organised gold scam fraud by luring unsuspecting genuine investors from across the world to part with millions of money in exchange for fake gold,” the DCI said in a statement.
In September 2017, the Mining minister gave people involved in the fake gold trade an ultimatum, warning that the government would deal with them ruthlessly.
This is after it emerged that rogue mineral dealers were issuing certificates purportedly issued by the Ministry of Mining to show that their gold, which is mostly fake, had been tested and graded.
The fraud, the ministry said, was being committed by persons with huge quantities of gold available at discounted prices.
Their victims were unsuspecting Kenyans and foreign nationals.
The criminals use false mineral dealers’ licences, export permits and reports purported to have been issued by the ministry.
Other common fraud cases involve demands for hefty upfront payments to facilitate the processing of export documents with relevant authorities, after which no export is done or the consignment turns out to be fake gold.
But the government is yet to follow through and punish the real masterminds, some of them politicians.