Ex-Kenyan minister remanded to Luzira over sh3.7b gold scam 

Kampala, Uganda HABARI DAILY I Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has aligned in court a Kenyan national over a gold scam in which an Indian national was ripped off up to $1m (sh3.7b). 

Tarus Stephen Kipkiyeny, who served as an assistant minister during President Mwai Kibaki’s administration, reportedly made false documents contrary to Section 203 (b) of the East African Community Customs Management Act, 2004 as amended, to convince his victim of the genuinity of the transaction. 

According to the Charge sheet seen by Habari Daily, Kipkiyeny and others still at large , about January 2024 tabled false customs export documents through a purported URA receipt number 872 dated 6/1/024 to rip off an Indian national of finances amounting to $1m. 

“Through invoice CN0/16-496/3 dated 2024-01-05 and a forged Bill of Lading No. 269322 dated 12/08/2022 of gold bars weighing 13kg, the accused purported that these were genuine documentation of export whereas not,” reads part of the charge sheet.  

Stuart Aheebwa, URA’s supervisor in charge of prosecutions, said Kipkiyeny, who also served as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Australia between 2009 and 2012 after losing his bid to be re-elected as MP for Emgwen in 2007, claimed that his gold bars were being kept at the URA run warehouse, and forged receipts to this effect.  

“One of the fraudulent transactions took place at the URA parking yard at Nakawa, when the offender received an unspecified amount of money and pretended to have approached the URA counter for receipts, which he reportedly presented to the victim,” he said in an interview. 

Kipkiyeny appeared before Esther Asiimwe, magistrate Grade 1, which is part of the High Court Anti-Corruption Division in Nakasero.  He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A former Kenyan diplomatic, Tarus Stephen Kipkiyeny being led by a Police Officer out of the dock after appeared before Anti-corruption Court at Nakasero Kampala. Photo by Ronnie Kijjambu

He was remanded to Luzira Maximum prison until January 18th when his case will come up for mention. He was later granted bail when his case came up for mention in the Anti Corruption Court.

Christopher Kajwara, the counsel to the accused pleaded to the judge for the accused to be granted bail but the judge objected, pointing at insufficient sureties and time limitations for processing of the application. 

According to the Kenyan media, Kipkiyeny, who also served as the Member of Parliament for Emgwen Constituency between 2003 and 2007, had his Karen home in Nairobi auctioned over a Ksh70m NIC Bank loan he defaulted on in 2020.  

A new class of extraordinarily wealthy Ugandans has emerged in recent years, largely due to involvement in gold scams. To execute a scam, these cartels often enlist a lawyer to draft the necessary paperwork, as well as a high-ranking army or police officer, and a supposed gold seller. 

Experts that Habari Daily talked to on condition of anonymity referred to Kipkiyeny’s case as the tip of the iceberg in a shadowy under-world of gold dealings.

Sometimes they involve gold dealers from the DR Congo, who cannot reportedly speak any of the local languages or English.

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