Friday, August 16, 2013

Raila Odinga criticises sackings over Jomo Kenyatta International Airport fire

Good people,
Sacking of the Airport senior official staff at JKIA following the fire is the right thing to do, because it had a lot to do with total irresponsibility with failing of integrity. It should follow with thorough investigation and legal justice.
The statement from Raila is self-explanatory. It is now clear that Raila had a bone to chew in the JKIA airport fire.......
Could it be to do with the multi-billion illegal dealings of Gold and Diamond found holed up in the airport storage facilities ?
Are these the unfinished corrupt business he was engaged in that makes him so active pushing people to go for referendum shuttling up and down through South Africa into USA and would not bow down peacefully.....???
Let him explain himself further.......
It is because, the Truth Shall Set Us All Free Indeed......
Cheers !!!

Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson
Executive Director
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,


Raila Odinga criticises sackings over Jomo Kenyatta International Airport fire

Updated Friday, August 16th 2013 at 15:42 GMT +3

By Philip Mwakio
NAIROBI, KENYA: Former Prime minister Raila Odinga on Friday claimed that Kenya Airport Authority MD Stephen Gichuki and other airport managers have been unfairly sacked or suspended over the recent fire at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport JKIA.

Raila told a lawyers' conference in Mombasa that Gichuki’s suspension before investigation of the fire tragedy has been completed is emblematic of the Jubilee government’s alleged mistreatment of civil servants and disregard of due process.
He said that ministers in the Jubilee government have harassed civil servants or sacked them without fear because they “are not accountable to parliament†any more following the promulgation of the 2010 constitution.
“People are being sacked even before investigation of the fire tragedy at JKIA is done,†he said and added that Gichuki has been hounded out of office with a “ year to his retirement†for no reason.
According to Raila Gichuki’s removal is as unjust as Mining Secretary Najib Balala’s cancellation of mining licences of 43 firms.
He said Balala recalled the licence without fear because “he cannot be called to parliament to explain why he did that†adding that the Labour Secretary Kazungu Kambu removed the Managing Trustee of the National Social Security Fund NSSF from office illegally saying that the pension fund does not fall under the ambit of the secretary’s powers when it comes to sacking.


Controversial city man claims he didn’t smuggle Sh8 billion Congo gold to Nairobi
Updated Friday, August 16th 2013 at 13:40 GMT +3
By David Odongo and Solomon Koko
Few Nairobians knew much about Paul Kobia before March 2011 when a furious President of a troubled neighbouring country made an impromptu visit to Kenya.
What President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) wanted his host President Mwai Kibaki to do was soon apparent: Order the return of 2.5 tonnes of gold worth at least Sh8 billion and arrest those who allegedly smuggled the massive haul from the mineral rich state.
Kabila insisted some of the loot had been freighted from Nairobi to Dubai and South Africa but part of it was in a warehouse in Embakasi.
Prominent among those named in the supposed international smuggling syndicate was Kobia, who until then had only been vaguely mentioned in relation to either the alleged illegal gold trade in Nairobi or a con game hinged on the precious metal.
The man, who UN officials and Kenyan investigators believe also holds a Congolese passport under the name of Ilunga Ngoei (or Paul Ilunga), was reported to have fled to Tanzania. He eventually returned home, but the investigations seemed to have fizzled. Last year a KTN investigative Inside Story /Jicho Pevu series, Blood on Gold/Dhahabu ya Mauti also linked Kobia to a gold con scheme.
This week, Kobia, in a rare media interview, has told The Nairobian that he is a clean man.Â
“I did not steal or smuggle Kabila’s gold. I am a legitimate businessman,†he says matter-of-factly.
The controversial city man says he trades in gemstones and has invested in real estate.
“I own a lot of property in Embakasi and other parts of the country. All my wealth can be traced. I work hard for my money. It is all legitimate,†insists Kobia, without giving much details.
He believes reports linking him to illegal gold trade are a witch-hunt that have sometimes led to police raids at some of his offices in View Park Towers. He even doubts the authenticity of information released on the supposedly smuggled DRC minerals.
“If someone had 2.5 tones of gold, would he store it in a ware house in Embakasi?†asks Kobia, alluding to the futile 2011 search by city security agencies at a warehouse.
However clean he may claim to be, Kobia has been treated as a suspect in various investigations and cases. For example, early last year police dropped fraud charges against him after a complainant in the case, said to be linked to Hong Kong-based Meranti Holdings, withdrew from the case.
"The complainant refused to come and we are told he has sworn an affidavit to that effect," said CID head of investigations Mohamed Amin.
Kobia had been arrested and charged on November 2, 2010 with pretending to sell 825kg of gold and obtaining $200,000 (Sh17.4 million at current exchange rate) from a South African Dennis Ray Schmelzenbach.
A UN report last year also linked Kobia to a gold con game and a warehouse at JKIA, which he allegedly used to dupe his victims. The 392-page report also claimed the syndicate ran a gold refinery in Nairobi. Kobia denies all the allegations.
“I honestly have no idea why I am on that list. Nobody asked me anything. I just heard that the UN had mentioned me in a report. But my conscience is clear, I have nothing to hide,†claims Kobia, who also denies that the Banking Fraud Investigation Unit froze his Sh800-million account. Â
 “That never happened my friend. If you follow the case, you will realise that the matter was concluded, and somebody (George Mutiso) was charged in court. It wasn’t me. My accounts haven’t been frozen,†says Kobia.
However, Directorate of Criminal Investigation boss Ndegwa Muhoro told The Nairobian that Kobia and others were not off the hook yet.Â
"For now I can't say that the case has been abandoned. It will depend on the progress and findings of our investigations. The evidence will be crucial," he said.
So who exactly is Paul Kobia? Well, the ‘exactly’ part does not come out quite clearly after our interview, but he nonetheless opens a window to his life.
“I am a humble man, who trained as a priest,†claims Kobia. “But I remain deeply religious.â€
For a man who says he left priesthood in Tanzania for the business world, Kobia does not hide the fact that he is doing well. For example, he tells us he once paid Sh16 million in cash for two Range Rovers at a Nairobi car bazaar. He also lays claim to being the first to import an Audi Q7 to Kenya.
Designer suits have replaced the religious robes and instead of a rosary he has a gold chain. He tells us he bought his Dunhill ‘pure leather’ belt in Monaco for $320 (Sh27,840). As the interview progresses, it is clear fine single malt whisky has also replaced church wine.
On the Congolese alias, Kobia alleges he was nicknamed Ilunga Ngoei by his friends from DRC because of their respect for him. He claims to have once been involved in legitimately exporting raw copper from DRC to a Chinese firm at a tidy profit.Â
Today, Nairobi-based Congolese refer to Kobia as ‘Prezda’ (President), perhaps since he lavishes cash on band members at various city venues whenever he shows up.
Kobia, who says he is so popular in the city that he can walk around “even in the most dangerous slum†without a bodyguard†, admits he has two licensed gun.
“I have never had occasion to draw them or even think of using them. I only applied for the licence because I sometimes carry huge amounts of cash, and I also want to protect my family,†claims Kobia.
 ‘Officially’, he says, his family is made up of one wife and four children but he ‘takes care of’ 10 children in universities and about 40 in various primary and secondary schools.Â
His son Geoffrey ‘Jeff’ Kobia made an unsuccessful bid to be Nairobi Governor in the March 4 elections.
“I spent hundreds of millions but we didn’t win because we started campaigns a bit late,†claims Kobia, adding that he plans to spend at least Sh700 million for his son’s campaigns in the 2017 elections.
He thinks he would have made a good governor for Nairobi, but “I don’t have a degree,†which is a requirement. Kobia, however, says Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko is a close friend.
“We used to share a single room many years back when we were both ‘hustlers’,†he says.
As he animatedly waves his left hand, which has a missing finger, we ask the inevitable question. What happened?
“It wasn’t anything close to the rumours about my finger being chopped off by business rivals. I was simply involved in an accident and shrapnel severed my finger. In fact, I have been trying to get the nurse who treated me in a clinic in Huruma so that I can say thanks to her nicely,†claims Kobia, saying he could buy a car for the nurse or pay fees for her children.
For now Paul Kobia says he is minding his business — perhaps in the hope that no furious president, inquisitive cops or nosy UN officials will disturb his peace.
Sh2.2b made from illegal gold trade could have funded terrorism, arms
Updated Wednesday, August 14th 2013 at 22:41 GMT +3
Investigators have exposed how proceeds worth Sh2.2 billion from illegal gold trading was kept out of the financial system and could have been used to finance criminal activities.
The probe reveals how exporters have been able to beat strict anti-money laundering laws after bypassing banks to pay for illegal shipments of gold.
The report by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) submitted to a parliamentary committee probing the shadowy dealings said some money could be used to fund terrorism, arms trade and money laundering.
Investigators said they suspect the firms involved in the trade preferred handling huge sums of money in cash, and concealed some transactions.
The investigations have roped in the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) over an alleged Sh2.8 billion tax arrears by two gold exporters, and also exposed an illegal practice in which customs officials use illegal documents to certify the cash that’s coming into the country “because the official documents are out of stock”.
The procedures at the Ministry of Mining are also under scrutiny, and the investigators claim Commissioner for Mines and Geology, Moses Masibo, created loopholes that allowed illicit gold to be traded in the country.
Mr Masibo is on suspension over the controversial licencing of mining companies in Kwale County that were revoked by Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala.
The Director of Criminal Investigation, after weeks of investigating two firms that export gold from Kenya to Dubai, declared that he could “not rule out the possibility” that the colossal amounts of money were being used to fund “ terrorism, the purchase and smuggling of arms, or money laundering”.
Claims of illegal trade in gold are sensitive, as highlighted in 2011 when DRC President Joseph Kabila flew in for emergency talks with President Kibaki over huge consignments of stolen gold smuggled into Kenya from his country by a cartel.
KRA Assistant Commissioner Joseph Cheptarus was shot while preparing an investigative report on its movement. An officer close to the investigations told The Standard the players in the smuggling ring include “top boys” in Government.
The National Assembly’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee is probing the matter.
Two firms at the centre of the investigation, Skyhawk International Limited and Ushindi Exports Limited, trade in cash without involving banks or foreign exchange dealers. The money comes in through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi in cash, it is declared at the customs using an “Improvised Custom Declaration Form.”
The declaration forms are “improvised” because “official forms are out of stock”, according to statements given to the detectives from the Customs officers at JKIA.
The millions of dollars come in via couriers on specific planes, and are transferred in tranches by a Cash-in-Transit company to the firm’s offices.
Only deposits of $10,000 (about Sh875,000) are reflected in their bank accounts but the cumulative deposits do not add up to the millions that enter the country.
But the directors of the two firms told investigators that they trade in cash because the local commercial banks are too broke and too slow to service their demands. Also because commercial banks charge high interest rates which eat into their profit margins.
“Most of the time, the local commercial banks do not have sufficient cash in US dollars, which the (companies) use to pay their clients because of the fluctuation of the shilling,” noted the confidential report of the CID.
KRA has also slapped two of the firms linked to the exports with a demand that they pay Sh2.8 billion in tax arrears.
Made loss
The confidential report shows that Mr Masibo sent a letter to all licenced gold dealers allowing them room not to capture all details of their suppliers.
The law requires full details of the suppliers to be kept, but because some gold dealers had complained that the unlicenced small-time movers of the precious metal were reluctant to give details for fear of legal consequences, the commissioner stepped in. He allowed the licenced dealers to focus on the quantity and date of transaction.
In the report filed with the committee, the CID also revealed that for the first six months of this year, 1.9 tonnes of gold, whose source is unclear, was exported to Dubai.
The two firms declared $25.5 million (about Sh2.1 billion) as the value of the gold that was being exported, but when it came to declaring the proceeds from the sale of that very consignment, the value had gone down to $21.5 million (about Sh1.9 billion) – meaning that the companies made a loss of $4.3 million (Sh367 million).
“There is no way the two companies could have traded at a loss in this business. The only logical explanation is that the gold was stolen, smuggled, or bought (from the supplier) at a very low price to enable them make a profit,” the CID sleuths noted.

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