A profiled Zambian gold scammer battling court case of fake gold export disguised as timber Bupe Chipando is planning to establish a gold refinery plant in Kenya.
Chipando, a native of Kabwe area in Zambia’s Central Province runs a gold trade firm, Alinani Precious Metals Limited (APML) as the Chief Executive Officer.
APML is part of a consortium enrolled under First Group of Companies in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, with First Line Capital as an investment company, First Commodity Exchange works as a market platform, while First Cargo Logistics provides transportation products under one umbrella.
Despite being indicted alongside his Zambian partner Carrolle Simutengu and their Kenyan culprits, Bupe has said APML will establish a mega gold refining plant in Kenya.
Senior ranking officers from the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining are under the radar of authorities for allegedly plotting a scheme to facilitate issuance of requisite license to the questionable firm.
According to court submissions by ARA, the agency seeks the court to compel the masterminds of the fraudulent deal, Bupe, Simutengu, and their company, APML forfeit Sh25 million to the government.
They had marked the payments as clearing charges for the shipment of timber to other countries abroad.
Documents filed in court by ARA states that the intricate money-laundering scheme was a clear ploy to dupe foreigners in anticipation they would receive gold whereas the bank details indicate the export consignment in question is timber.
“We established that they are involved in an intricate money-laundering scheme executed with the intent of defrauding foreign nationals on the premise that they have gold for sale while hiding behind falsified bank documents showing they are engaged in timber export,” reads part of the statement filed by ARA.
They had received Sh157million down payment and had also forged customs documents to conceal their fake gold business.
“To facilitate movement of the funds to their personal accounts, they used agreements supported by falsified custom declaration forms purportedly from Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) as proof that they were engaged in timber importation while we suspect the money was for fake hold trade,” ARA added in their statement.
“Investigations established that Sh71.5 million was transferred from the account held by Ochieng Opiyo Advocates to another account held by First Line Capital Ltd owned by the two Zambian businessmen while declaring that it was payment to purchase timber for export.”
The rest of the money was shared by two other companies who received Sh47.7 million and Sh37.6 million respectively.
ARA investigator further averred that other Zambian nationals were involved in a similar case where a foreigners lost Sh728 million between May 2019 and January 2021 but the proceeds could be not traced.
This is the second suit filed by ARA in less than a month. The agency filed a similar suit seeking to recover Ksh50 million from Cameroonian Eddy Michel Malonga, Mubadala Merchants Ltd and First Cargo Logistics.
According to Bupe, APML is targeting small-scale gold mining is booming in the country, especially in areas like Siaya, Migori, Kisumu, Kakamega and Homabay counties.
Once established, APML refinery plant will be geared towards processing metal produced by informal diggers in several counties in Kenya, it said.
Detectives attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigation have in the past busted numerous organised criminal networks involved in fake gold dealing, money laundering and terrorism financing involving Kenyans and foreigners.