FLIGHT RISK

Court declines to grant bail to fugitive wanted in US

Juma is alleged to be part of an international gang that conspires to commit wire fraud and money laundering

In Summary
  • Juma is alleged to have defrauded a Qatar-based businessman pretending he would build an international school for children in Qatar with other conspirators. 
  • According to court documents, he is alleged to have several times instructed the victim to send additional payments to be paid by wire transfer to a bank account in Kenya.
Image: FILE

A Nairobi court on Tuesday declined to release on bail a fugitive wanted by the US government over more than Sh128 million money laundering charges.

Abdulrahaman Imraan Juma alias Abdul aka Rahaman is alleged to be part of an international gang that conspires to commit wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft by targeting unsuspecting businessmen who are in need of loan facilities.

Nairobi chief magistrate Wendy Micheni, while denying the suspect on bail, said that he is a flight risk and would abscond if released.

In December 2021, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haj filed an application to extradite him to the US.

The DPP, through senior state prosecutor Catherine Mwaniki, asked court to allow him extradite Juma to face the charges as requested by the US Department of Justice.

“We are signifying the court that a requisition for Juma’s extradition and surrender has been made and requires the court to issue a warrant for apprehension and extradition of the fugitive who is accused in the United States District Court for the Central District of California,” DPP said.

According to documents filed in court by the DPP, Juma is alleged to be part of an international syndicate that involves accomplices in the US, Nigeria and a Kenyan law firm.

Juma is alleged to have defrauded a Qatar-based businessman pretending he would build an international school for children in Qatar with other conspirators. 

Juma, who was born in Kajiado, is alleged to have conned the Qatar-based businessman pretending that he was a director in a US bank.

"Defendant Juma would meet with the victim and falsely promise to provide the loan to the victim in exchange for a consultancy fee paid by wire transfer to a bank account in Kenya," read the extradition application in part.

After the victim paid the said money, Juma would issue him with forged and fraudulent paper work that would make it appear that the loan had been paid to the victim's bank account.

According to court documents by the DPP, Juma is alleged to have several times instructed the victim to send additional payments to be paid by wire transfer to a bank account in Kenya.

With other conspirators only known as Fashola and Agbabiaka, who have already been arrested by the US government, Juma would device false stories and artifice to trick the victim into paying additional funds to bank accounts in Los Angeles in USA and Kenya.

In the charges against Juma filed at the US District Court for the Central District of California, he is facing 61 counts of money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Once the victim was identified, the accomplices would introduce them to Juma who would in turn falsely claim that he would provide the loan through his company in Kenya.

In one instance, the documents showed that Juma promised a Qatari businessman that he could organise for him $15 million (Sh1.6 billion) after which he was allegedly paid $314,450 (Sh35.5 million) then went underground.

The matter is set for trial in February. 

(edited by Amol Awuor)

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