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Shocking opulence of Sh30m fake gold suspect

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Gold scam suspect spent Sh45 million for ‘price on the road’

  • Kamau Muthoni 30th Oct 2019 03:00:00 GMT +0300
Businessman Jared Otieno in fake gold probe at Milimani court, Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango/Standard]

Every man has taste, but spicing it offers class. That gold scam suspect Jared Otieno loves finer things in life is evident in the Sh47 million he splashed on a custom-made sleek car. The 2018 Bentley Continental GT cost that much because Mr Otieno ordered exclusive accessories to suit his flamboyant lifestyle. The State now wants to seize the British-made luxury car alongside a custom made Porsche Panamera (2015) – said to have cost Sh30 million- arguing they are proceeds of crime. Otieno is battling accusations he conned a Dubai royal out of Sh300 million in a fake gold racket. In May, he was charged with obtaining Sh300 million from Sounthorn Chanthavong, a director of Simoung Group Company, claiming that he would sell him gold. Court documents filed by the Asset Recovery Agency reveal the “price on the road” for the Bentley is $453,897 (Sh47 million).

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A vehicle order agreement dated June 18, 2018, between the Bentley sales consultant Dimitris Karakloulas and Otieno, shows he paid Sh9.6 million as an advance deposit. He paid the balance of Sh35.7 million in 14 instalments over one year. The money was wired to RT East Africa Limited, according to the October 8 filings before anti-corruption court judge John Onyiego. Each item on the car, which is now being held by the State, is custom-made. These included a front comfort seat with massage and ventilation for which he paid $7,113 (Sh711,300). It also incorporated night vision, which cost Sh626,000. Night vision is not a gadget for enhancing vision at night, but a carpet that mirrors a geometric pattern, reflecting fragmented pieces of lines and hues.

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Mood light According to Bentleymills.com, yarns are alternated between low and high shine and mixing colour to create refined ombré effects (seamless flow from one colour to the next) of either star trails, distortion, darkroom, zoom burst, shutter speed, filter, double exposure, out of focus, fall off and light leak. He also opted for some “mood light”, which Bentley explains in its website will make the car stand out from every other vehicle on the road. The makers of the vehicle explain that the light changes the ambience of the car, while highlighting all the best aspects of its interior. They claim that studies have shown that mood lighting can decrease night time driving fatigue. For the lighting, Otieno paid Sh400,000. This car also has hands free boot opening, traffic signs recognition, pedestrian warning system and reversing traffic warning. For his troubles Otieno spent Sh1.2 million for a Bentley Rotating Display. For music, Otieno ordered a Sh1.7 million radio dubbed Naim for Bentley. Naimaudio.com website explains its engineers custom-made the system for Bentley and developed a brand new amplifier that produces 1100 watts of power. “The result? New worldwide benchmarks for in-cabin sound technology and incredible depth of music quality that has to be heard, to be believed,” the website reads. The system, according to the website, features a delicately patterned aluminum skin, a knurled volume control wand and has all the features any music lover could demand. The car is an eight-speed double clutch automatic and has some light emitting diodes (led) welcome lamps, which cost Sh100,000. Otieno wants the court to release the Bentley and the Porsche Panamera, arguing he bought them in 2018 before the alleged offence. The High Court allowed the State to confiscate the two cars last month. He argues that a police officer had told the magistrate’s court the two cars had no link to the criminal charges he was facing. But the Asset Recovery Agency asked the court to dismiss the application, arguing that he paid for the cars after receiving Sh300 million from Simoung Group Company. The agency’s lawyer, Stephen Githinji, told the court Otieno received $1 million (Sh100 million) through Okundi and Company Advocates on February 8, 2019. A further $2 million (Sh200 million) was wired to the same law firm on Feb 26, 2019. Three days later, on February 11, Mr Githinji said Sh10 million was transferred from the lawyers’ account at NIC Bank to RT East Africa Limited for the purchase of the Bentley. On February 28, a further Sh10 million was disbursed to the car dealer. “The issue that the vehicles are not proceeds of crime can only be addressed on forfeiture application. Those are reasonable grounds for this court to uphold the preservation orders on the two motor vehicles,” argues Githinji. Paid in instalments A statement from Bentley Nairobi, filed before Justice Onyiego, reveals that he paid for the Bentley in 14 instalments. The first instalment of Sh6 million was paid on March 9, 2018 while the last instalment of Sh3.5 million was paid on April 16 this year. Replying to Otieno’s prayers for the release of the vehicles, investigating officer Jeremiah Sautet said they were suspected proceeds of crime. He dismissed claims by Otieno that they were confiscated for exhibits. “Unless this court grants the orders sought, the economic advantage derived from the commission of crimes will continue to benefit a few to the disadvantage of the economy and to the public whilst dealing a big blow to the financial investigations,” said Sautet in his affidavit, adding that charging Otieno did not stop sleuths from pursuing him for money laundering. Mr Sautet denied that his colleague, only identified as Corporal Onyango, had told the magistrate’s court that the vehicles were not related to money laundering.. “Corporal Onyango did confirm that the subject motor vehicles were held at DCI headquarters and the prosecution did not intend to use them as exhibits. This did not exonerate nor insulate the applicant (Otieno) from further independent investigations by other competent agencies, including offence of money laundering,” Sautet added. Justice Onyiego will determine whether to release the two cars on November 15.

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