The cames days after the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji was granted one week last week to file amended charges against flamboyant businessman Jared Otieno and others accused of defrauding Sounthorn Chanthavong, a director of Simoung Group Company, Ksh300 million claiming that they would sell him gold.
The court decision came move after the DPP, on in a previous virtual court session told Milimani Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo that he needed more time to file a new charge sheet in the matter after reviewing the police file.
The court magistrate granted the DPP until June 21, 2022, to file the amended charges sheet in the case, and to determine when Otieno and others were to take plea plea afresh.
The DPP’s decision to amend the charge sheet was first brought to the court’s attention on May 17, 2022, when the complainant, Sounthorn, took to the witness box to testify in the matter which has been delayed in court since May 2019.
The foreign investor travelled all the way from his home country, Lao, on May 16, 2022, only to be told the hearing could not proceed as the prosecution intends to drop charges against some employees of the first accused person Jared Otieno.
Since the prime suspect, Otieno, and his 15 co-accused persons were charged in court in 2019 the matter has never proceeded to a full hearing as the prosecution sought several adjournments in the case on the ground that the complainant was unable to jet back into the country following lockdown in Thailand and China due to Covid -19 pandemic.
Trial magistrate Wendy had earlier this year ordered the matter to proceed without further delay and directed that the matter has to go for a full hearing on May 16 and 17,2022 when the complainant and another witness KKeoudone Thammavong were able to travel into the country.
But on May 16, the matter again failed to proceed after the prosecuting counsel applied for an adjournment on grounds that they needed to do a pre-trial with the foreign investor who had arrived in the country that morning.
The court, however, granted the prosecution’s request and apologized to the complainant for the inconvenience occasioned by the state for having travelled all the way from his country in vain.
In the case, Otieno pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud and obtain money by false pretences. At the same time, his accused persons faced other charges of preparing to commit a felony and counterfeiting trademark.
He was charged alongside Philip Nahashon Aroko, and three foreigners from Chad and Congo namely Abouma Tamoua, Salim Ali Abubakar, Albert Likole Lokunda, Robert Ouko Paul alias Maxwel Oyuga Odour, Ricky Thomas Ochieng alias Tom Okoth, Peter Omondi Onyach, Jalang’o Abdala Okoth, Annangton Modishia, William Otieno Onyango, Cochi Otieno Paul, Michael Ochieng, Cynthia Githinji, Joyce Akinyi, and Faith Nzisa Nyamai.
The charges against them state that on diverse dates between February 8 and February 25, 2019, in Nairobi County, jointly with others not before court conspired to defraud a foreigner Southern Chanthavong a director of Simuong Group company from Lao USD3 million.
The prosecution claims the accused persons defrauded the complainant using fraudulent tricks and displaying heavy metal boxes allegedly parked with genuine gold bars at an office trading as NIRONE KEEPING Limited.
Otieno, Aroko, Ouko and Ochieng were separately charged with obtaining Ksh300 million from Chanthavong by falsely pretending that they had genuine gold for sale.
In the third count, the accused persons were charged that on May 13, 2019, at Kaputei Gardens within Kileleshwa, Nairobi county, they were jointly found in a building designed as an office of NIRONE KEEPING Limited with intent to commit felony of obtaining money by false pretences since they had in their possession fake gold bars, heavy metal boxes stuffed with bags of cement, mallet hammers, and Ghana customs stickers.
The court heard that the items were used to convince unsuspecting people that they were engaged in a genuine gold business so as to defraud them of money.
The accused persons further were accused that on the same date in a rented house No. 12 at Kaputei Gardens within Kileleshwa, Nairobi county, jointly with others not before court, counterfeited Ghana Customs Authority stickers trade mark, purporting to be genuine stickers.
Otieno and Aroko have another case pending before court over Ksh23 million gold where they are alleged to have defrauded a foreign businessman Samir Entorno.
In the case, others charged are lawyer Munzala Rumili and three businessmen Roy Shirekuli, Sikanda Ismail Abdalla Saleh and Ugandan Kayombya Gorman alias Timothy Mureithi.
In the first case, Otieno and Shikanda were accused that on June 22, 2017, obtained USD 169,000 by falsely pretending that they were in a position to ship 50 kilograms of gold from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi to Kuwait International Airport.
According to the police charge sheet filed in court, Otieno was using four alias names. At one time, he was known as Jared Kiasa Otieno, while at other times he is known as Jared Smith Otieno but you can also call him Richard Otieno or Jared Smith Mackenzie Otieno.
They were released on bond