Three people have been charged with obtaining Sh 123 million from a Kazakhstan national pretending they were in a position to supply him with Maasai artifacts, sculptures and processed tea.
Evelyne Adhiambo Osore, Stephen Roberts Andere and Berlin Owino Ajeck are also accused of money laundering.
The three are alleged to have conspired to defraud and did obtain from Damir Ryskulov 1 million USD (Equivalent to Sh 100 million) by falsely pretending they were in a position to supply him with one ton of Maasai artifacts and sculptures.
The accused are alleged to have committed the offence on diverse dates between 22nd January and 13th May 2019.
The suspects are facing other charges of conspiracy to defraud and obtaining 150,000 USD (Sh 15 million) from the complainant by pretending tat they were in a position to supply BIM with four tons of processed tea.
In addition, the three face charges of obtaining 80,350 USD (equivalent to Sh 8,035,000) pretending that they were in a position to offer transport for four tons of processed tea from Kenya to Kazakhstan.
In the money laundering charge, the accused persons are accused of engaging in an arrangement for transfer of 1,230,350 USD (Sh 123,350,000) while knowing or ought to have known that the said money was part of proceeds of crime falsely obtained from Damir whose effect was to conceal the movement of the said money.
They denied the charges before Senior Principal Magistrate Kenneth Cheruiyot.
The prosecution objected their release on bail on grounds that the three are at flight risk and may interfere with investigations.
According to an affidavit sworn by the investigating officer Mike Muya, investigations are yet to complete since there are bank documents that are to be obtained and bank said it would avail them on 16th July. The said documents may result to additional charges.
“If granted bail the accused persons may interfere with witnesses who are yet to record their statements and may also interfere with other suspects still at large and investigators are still pursuing them.
The court also heard that their phones have been forwarded to cyber crime unit for analysis and the report is yet to be availed. The police say they may prefer other serious charges under the terrorism act.
It was further submitted by the prosecution that the three may be at flight risk since their place of abode is still unknown.
However the defense opposed the application their clients were arrested days ago and police obtained custodial orders for seven days to complete investigations.
Their lawyers urged the court to release them on bail saying that the prosecution can always amend the charge sheet for addition charges.
They submitted that their clients are not at flight risk since they are Kenyan citizens with families and can even provide a contact person in addition to bail.
The complainant indicated that he wanted to withdraw the charges against the third accused, Ajeck, saying nothing against the third accused was just a tour guide to show him around and got entangled in the mix.
Damir requested the court to order him to return his passport since they have been having it in their possession for three works.
The court heard that being a foreigner, the complainant can not transact or even leave his hotel without his passport.
Through his lawyer, Damir told the court that the Investigators can take a copy of the original passport before giving it back.
However the prosecution responded by saying that the said passport is crucial to the them and releasing it would jeopardize the case.
“It is part of the exhibits and will be used to show the complainant’s movement. We are seeking a closer date for trial in order to release the complainant,” the state responded.
SPM Cheruiyot will deliver the ruling on Wednesday 17th whether the three will be bailed pending determination of the case or not.