Police probe Portuguese man over Sh620 million gold seized at JKIA
Security at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) has been heightened after a foreigner allegedly attempted to smuggle gold worth Sh620 million through the airport to Budapest.
Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) detectives are investigating how Joao Carlos Ramalho Ferreira, a Portuguese citizen of passport number CB459223, brought 100kg of gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The consignment was moved to Uganda after attempts to ship the commodity to Budapest hit the wall.
Ferreira, a 67-year-old economist based in Hungary, is said to be a shrewd businessman who has close ties with some prominent leaders in Africa.
Sources say he was a football agent in Portugal before he shifted his base to Budapest where he is said to be involved in gold smuggling.
A senior DCI officer yesterday told People Daily Ferreira opened a company in the country with the help of a Nairobi-based lawyer.
“Our investigations have revealed a lot. The foreigner opened a company purporting to be dealing in, among other things, gold business. We are however on high alert to ensure that smugglers do not use Kenya as transit point,” he said.
Sources said the gold, which is said to have a street value of Sh621,500,000 (USD5.5 million), was smuggled from the mineral rich Katanga area in Democratic Republic of Congo in October last year through Burundi, with the help of powerful Congolese military General John Numbi, who is a close ally of Ferreira.
General Numbi has been on the run for close to a year after the authorities called for his prosecution for the murder of human rights activist.
On 14 April last year, General John Numbi was charged with the murder of human rights defender Floribert Chebeya Bahizire and his driver Fidèle Bazana Edadi by the High Military Court, 11 years after the murder.
Bahizire and Edadi disappeared on 1 June 2010, after complying with a summons to meet Numbi at the police headquarters in Kinshasa.