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Kenya hands over seized gold to Tanzania

Kenya has returned 35kg of gold seized in the country by police to Tanzania as the two countries join hands to fight cross-border illicit trade.

A delegation from Nairobi led by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji is in Tanzania to return the gold seized by Kenyan police in Nairobi.

It is not yet clear the actual value of the gold returned but initial estimates put it at Ksh100 million ($1 million).

The consignment was received by Tanzanian President John Magufuli in State House Dar es Salaam.

It was tested in public to prove that it was actual gold in a dramatic function that saw President Uhuru Kenyatta call in live from Nairobi.

This comes days after President Kenyatta visited Tanzania earlier this month and held talks with Dr Magufuli.

The talks are expected to iron out trade differences between the two East African nations.

President Magufuli revealed in his speech that Kenya wants to buy processed maize flour from the country as well as gas.

In a dramatic ceremony, President Kenyatta called Magufuli on phone during the handover, sending his regards.

“My brother, I say we continue working together and Kenya and Tanzania has no borders as we agreed. We should help one another to fight corruption and to return money stolen from our people so that we build roads and connect our people to electricity,” Mr Kenyatta said on phone.

Kenya has in the recent past stepped up the fight against illegal gold trading that has seen Nairobi become a playground for fake and illicit gold from the region, especially the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) had become a favourite transit port for gold smugglers.

Probe

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula become a person of interest in the most recent gold scam that entangled Dubai sheikhs.

In 2011, gold estimated to be worth Ksh8 billion ($80 million) linked to Congolese businessmen was caught at the JKIA.

As is the latest case, the gold said to have been smuggled from illegal minefields in the DRC also mysteriously disappeared at the JKIA, before Kenya Revenue Authority officials even knew what had been shipped in.

DRC officials lifted the lid on the transaction when they noticed suspicious movement of the gold cargo only to learn that it could not be traced.

Investigators believe the 2.5 tonnes of gold from eastern Congo left Kenya for Europe through South Africa.

Things took a nasty turn after a senior KRA official who led the investigation into the Ksh8 billion ($80 million) syndicate was shot four times at close range before his body was thrown out of his car.

Nothing has come out of that investigation ever since his mysterious death happened.

Early last year, a Tanzanian national was arrested at the JKIA with Ksh100 million ($1 million) worth of smuggled gold.

Investigators believe that more than Ksh30 billion ($30 million) worth of gold bars and nuggets are estimated to have been shipped through the airport in recent past.

By The Eastafrican

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