– The royal family in Dubai reportedly wrote a letter to the Kenyan government demanding KSh 4 billion in compensation
– The family has connections with businessman Ali Zandi who owns a gold trading company, Zlivia, in Dubai
– Zandi had entered into a business deal with Kenyan businessman Zaheer Jhanda who was to facilitate export of gold from DRC to UAE
– The gold, however, never reached Zandi despite payments having been made and with reports indicating it was being held at JKIA
– Jhanda dismissed reports that the gold consignment worth KSh 30 billion was confiscated at JKIA claiming it was still in the DRC
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has reportedly penned a protest letter to the government of Kenya demanding compensation for losses incurred in a fake gold scam involving senior Kenyan politicians and state officials.
The UAE government is alleged to be asking for a jaw-dropping KSh 4 billion as compensation to the aggrieved Royal family, a demand that is feared could trigger a diplomatic row between the two countries.
The said letter was allegedly sent after reports emerged Kenyan custom officials were holding at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) gold consignment belonging to Ali Zandi, owner of Dubai-based gold trading company, Zlivia, which has connections with Saudi royal family.
According to the Africa Report magazine and other regional and international news outlets, Zandi had entered into a deal with flamboyant Kenyan businessman and politician Zaheer Jhanda who assured him he could source gold from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and deliver it to him in Dubai.
Zandi was then later told his gold had been confiscated by Kenyan authorities at JKIA, after which the Dubai-based businessman allegedly wired KSh 250 million (US$2.5 million) to have his consignment, estimated to be worth KSh 30 billion, released.
It is understood the foreign businessman was involved in the deal with a number of Kenyan businessmen besides Jhanda, his main partner in Kenya.
Several months later, Zandi had not received his gold, and it was increasingly becoming clear he had been conned by his Kenyan partners amid reports that consignments of fake gold had been seized in Nairobi by detectives from the Doctorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
Interestingly, Jhanda who is a person of interest in the explosive multi-million gold scam dismissed reports indicating the consignment was being held at the airport.
According to him, the gold was yet to leave Congo.
“The company contracted me for my consultancy services, which was purely based on advisory on taxation and exportation of the gold that was to come from the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he told Citizen TV.
The 40-year-old Jhanda who vied for Nyaribari Chache parliamentary seat in 2013 and tried again in 2017 but lost in both cases, further claimed he had never done gold business in his life before, and that this was the first time he was involved in such a business.
He disclosed he actually holds a 12% share in Zlivia, the company that is said to be the complainant in the fake gold scam.
His work, Jhanda explained, was to make sure the goods had arrived and that they paid taxes to the government so they could export above board.
“You cannot have gold worth KSh 30 billion in Kenya and the government is not aware about it,” he said in protest to allegations he was part of the fake gold racket that was defrauding foreign investors millions of shillings.
Also implicated in the scam was Senator Moses Wetang’ula whose phone conversation with a man believed to be Zandi was recorded and shared on social media where it attracted massive reaction from Kenyans.
Mentioned in the now controversial audio clip were President Uhuru Kenyatta, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and former prime minister Raila Odinga.
The viral clip appeared to suggest the president, the ODM party leader and CS Matiang’i were part of the fake gold racket.
The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji on Saturday, May 18, ordered for speedy investigation into the audio recording and warned against sharing of misleading information.
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