BY SAM ALFAN.
The trial of businessman Jared Otieno and others over claims of obtaining more than Sh23 million in fake gold failed to proceed on Tuesday after he claimed that he was in isolation.
Otieno’s lawyer Stanley Kang’ahi informed trial magistrate Francis Andayi that his client has exhibited some symptoms he did not disclose prompting him to self-isolate.
The revelation of Otieno’s illness prompted the prosecution to make an about-turn over plans to withdraw the matter.
The DPP had earlier denied making the application to withdraw the case under section 87( a) of the Criminal procedural code. On Tuesday he referred to an unknown application while seeking the matter to be taken out.
“We cannot proceed with the application in the absence of the accused person (Otieno). We seek another date to hear the application,” said the prosecution.
The trial magistrate adjourned the matter until May 20 to enable the businessman to rest and have enough time to attend the court proceedings during the next hearing.
On Monday the DPP through Angela Fuchaka had informed the court that he intends to withdraw the fraud case otieno and his four co- accused persons because he cannot reach the complainant Samir Entoro who flew to Brazil for specialized heary treatment early last year.
“I have instruction from my boss Haji to withdraw this case under section 87(a) of the Criminal Procedural Code as the communication between the investigating officer, the office of the DPP and the complainant’s lawyer George Wajakhoya is futile,” said Fuchaka.
Fraudster Otieno, lawyer Munzala Javier Runili, Philip Nashon Aroko, Roy Shirekuli and Ismail Shikanda Aballah had been summoned to appear in person on Tuesday for the court to decide whether to allow the application for withdrawal or not.
The matter has been delayed for the last one year following the indisposition of Entoro after the doctors in brazil advised him not to travel following his heart condition.
Businessman Otieno and his co-accused are charged with defrauding Entoro, a Brazilian national $23,200 (Sh23,200,000) in a gold deal.
It is alleged that they obtained the money from Entoro pretending they would ship to him eight kilograms of gold from Nairobi to Dubai.
The five are alleged to have committed the offences on diverse dates between May 5 and June 9,2018 at different places in Nairobi county jointly with others not before court.
In a separate case,Otieno and his personal assistant Aroko are facing another case of defrauding a foreigner Southern Chathavong, a director of Simuong Group of company from Lao Sh 300 million in a fake gold syndicate scam.
The prosecution alleges that the fifteen accused persons committed the offence on diverse dates between February 8 and February 25, 2019 within Nairobi county jointly with others before court with intent to defraud.
Otieno and his co-accused are accused that on May 13, 2019 at Kaputei Gardens plot number 12 in Kileleshwa, they were found to be in possession of fake gold bars, heavy metal boxes stuffed with bags of cement and mallet hammers, and Ghana custom stickers.
Investigations conducted by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations shows that, the parties later in May 2019 held a meeting after which the victim Sounthorn parted with Sh 300 Million, being payment of an undisclosed quantity of gold.
The precious metal would be delivered to his home country in Lao but the shipment failed to arrive.
The hearing of the case against Otieno and 15 others has since failed to kick off on several occasions after the victim and other key witnesses who are from LAO were unable to travel due to Covid -19 pandemic.
The last time the matter was in court the prosecution sought more time saying that the witnesses in the matter are unable to travel in Kenya to testify in the case.
“The matter was coming up for hearing. We are not ready to proceed as the witnesses in the matter who are from LAO were unable to travel due to Covid -19 pandemic. LAO borders China and Thailanda which are currently under lock down as the witnesses are expected to use Thailand to travel into Kenya,” said prosecutor Angela Fuchaka.
The case will now be heard in July this year.