Businessman in Sh13 million fake gold deal has case to answer

Prosecution closes its case with more than six witnesses testifying; Obia denied obtaining Sh13.7 million.

In Summary
  • According to the prosecution, Obia  obtained the money from Gallati during a meeting at Hilton hotel at around 5pm on May 1, 2015.
  • The offence is thought to have been committed at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi.
Gold bars
Gold bars
Image: FILE

A Nairobi court has ruled that businessman Kevin Obia alias Kevin Kleigh accused of defrauding an Austrian of more than Sh13.7 million while pretending to be in a position to sell him 7kg of gold has a case to answer. 

Obia has been charged with obtaining Euros 127,000 (Sh13.7million) on May 1, 2015 at the Hilton Hotel, Nairobi, from  Christian Gallati by falsely pretending he would sell him 7kg of gold.

Milimani chief magistrate Francis Andayi put him on his defence after prosecution closed its case with more than six witnesses testifying. He has since denied obtaining Sh13.7 million.

The offence is thought to have been committed on May 1, 2015 at Hilton Hotel in Nairobi.

In his ruling, the magistrate said the prosecution had proved a prime facie case against the accused person to warrant the suspect to be put on his defence.

According to the prosecution, Obia obtained the money from Gallati during a meeting at Hilton hotel at around 5pm.

He was arrested by detectives from the DCI's office who had laid an ambush in the hotel.

But in his defence, Obia told the court that on the material day he went to the hotel where he was to meet his visitor, a DJ from South Africa.  He said the DJ was scheduled to carry out an entertainment show in Nairobi.

He told the court while he was in the hotel, some people came where he was seated and greeted him and left. Obia said another group of people came and also greeted him before they started asking him about another person who had also greeted him before. 

Later Obia said the group asked him to accompany them to Central police station for further interrogation. He denied dealing in the gold business.

In his sworn defence, Obia told the court that he was framed by the police and that he knew nothing about the fake gold trade.

The accused told the court he was arrested after a business meeting. The accused, who is out on bond, denied ever receiving any money from the foreigner  

Asked by prosecuting counsel Angela Fuchaka whether he had ever handled gold bars, Obia said: “I have never handled gold bars, neither am I in the gold business.”

Obia told the court that he only reads in the media how unsuspecting international traders are conned of millions of shillings in fake gold deals.

“I have never engaged in that illegal gold trade,” he said.

The accused is also facing a second count of attempting to defraud Gallati of Sh54.1 million on May 18, 2015 claiming he was in a position to sell him 13kg of gold.

Obia said that on May 18, 2015 he was driven to Hilton Hotel by his driver, Samuel Muturi, to attend business meetings.

He had a brief meeting with his first group of guests at the hotel but was arrested immediately the visitors left.

Obia said the officers who arrested him took him to Central police station where they charged him with gold fraud.

Muturi said he did not witness his boss receiving any money from anybody on the said date.

But on cross-examination by Fuchaka, Muturi said that on May 1, 2015 he was not working since it was Labour Day.

He said he was at home and could not state whether or not Obia received the money from Gallati.

Obia's defence lawyer said he will file written submissions while Fuchaka said he would rely on evidence tendered in court in urging the court to convict the accused as charged. 

The case will be mentioned on March 1.

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