Home Fraud Stephen Mark Oduk Indian Businessman Loses Sh200 Million in Kenyan Gold Scam

Stephen Mark Oduk Indian Businessman Loses Sh200 Million in Kenyan Gold Scam

by Sema Yote
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Stephen Mark Oduk

Imagine traveling to a foreign land, eager to expand your business, only to end up losing over Sh200 million to a sophisticated scam. This was the unfortunate reality for an Indian businessman who fell victim to a fraudulent gold operation based in Kenya, orchestrated by Stephen Mark Oduk. This article delves into the intricate details of the scam, shedding light on how the perpetrators orchestrated their scheme and the lessons we can learn to prevent such incidents in the future.

The Key Players

At the heart of this elaborate scam is Stephen Mark Oduk, a notorious criminal operating under numerous aliases. His partners in crime included Najmudeen Majid, an Indian resident of Mombasa, and his daughter, Jamalya Majid. Together, they created a web of deceit that ensnared their unsuspecting victim.

The Victim’s Business Plans

The Indian businessman, whose name we’re temporarily withholding, had high hopes of purchasing gold in Kenya. He shared his plans with Najmudeen Majid, who quickly claimed to have connections with trusted gold dealers in the country. Given their shared cultural background, the businessman felt an immediate sense of trust towards Majid.

Building Trust

The scammers knew that establishing trust was crucial. Leveraging their cultural familiarity, Najmudeen and Jamalya Majid made the businessman feel at ease. They engaged in sustained conversations, reassuring him of their credibility and connections in the gold market.

The Arrival in Nairobi

When the businessman arrived in Nairobi, Najmudeen Majid picked him up from the airport in a luxurious car, further solidifying their facade of legitimacy. He was provided VIP accommodations at Down Town Moktar along Doddah Street, ensuring he felt comfortable and secure.

The Introduction to the Gold Deal

On May 8, 2024, the businessman was introduced to Stephen Mark Oduk, who posed as a legitimate gold dealer. Oduk presented forged documents and fabricated photographs of non-existent gold, claiming he had a consignment of 30 kg of gold in transit from Dubai. To further convince the victim, Oduk even staged a demonstration of the gold smelting process using a small quantity of real gold.

Stephen Mark Oduk

Stephen Mark Oduk

The Hawala Transfer

To conceal their digital footprints, the scammers advised the businessman to make payments via Hawala, an informal value transfer system. The victim transferred approximately Sh150 million in U.S. dollars to an account provided by Oduk, believing he was making an initial payment for the gold.

The Interception and Drug Allegations

After the payment, the victim was intercepted by a group of policemen who accused him and his associates of drug possession. They were quickly bundled into police cars and taken to Kabete Police Station. At the station, the police demanded a bribe of Sh50,000 for their release, claiming they would hold the gold until valid documentation was provided.

Detainment at Kabete Police Station

The victim’s experience at Kabete Police Station was harrowing. Despite paying the bribe, the gold was confiscated, and he was told that the gold would only be released upon the presentation of valid documents. This added another layer of stress and confusion to the already complicated situation.

The PS Omollo Impersonation

The scammers continued their deception by impersonating Dr. Raymond Omollo, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Interior. Jamalya Majid claimed to have connections with Mr. Collins, who she said was the PA to PS Omollo. She even made fake calls to a purported number of the PA, convincing the victim that high-ranking officials were involved in handling his case.

The Radisson Blu Meeting

Desperate to resolve the situation, the victim agreed to meet with the fake PA at Radisson Blu in Upperhill. There, ‘Collins’ demanded Sh3 million to facilitate the release of the detained gold. The victim, hoping to recover his investment, paid part of the requested amount.

Continued Deceptions

Despite paying the money, the victim found himself entangled in further demands. Oduk and Majid kept asking for more cash, claiming that customs officers needed to be ‘sorted’ for the release of the gold. The victim’s desperation grew as he realized he might never see his money or gold again.

Reporting to Authorities

Realizing he had been scammed, the victim reported the matter to the DCI HQ in Kiambu. The case was then referred to the Kilimani police station for further investigation. As the authorities delve deeper into the case, the complexities of the scam continue to unfold.

Lessons Learned

This case underscores the importance of due diligence when engaging in international business deals. Potential investors must verify the legitimacy of their contacts and be wary of red flags such as demands for large sums of money through informal channels like Hawala. Trust, while essential, should be tempered with caution, especially when dealing with high-value transactions.

Also Read: Jonathan Okoth Opande and Steve Ochieng Odhiambo Arraigned in Gold Cartel Case

The story of this Indian businessman’s ordeal is a stark reminder of the sophisticated scams that can target unsuspecting foreigners. By understanding the tactics used by scammers and remaining vigilant, we can better protect ourselves and our investments from falling prey to such elaborate schemes.

FAQs

What is the Hawala system?

Hawala is an informal value transfer system based on a network of money brokers, primarily used in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Indian subcontinent. It operates without formal documentation, relying on the trust and reputation of its participants.

How can one verify the legitimacy of a gold dealer?

To verify the legitimacy of a gold dealer, check for proper certification, request references, and conduct thorough background checks. Engaging with reputable industry associations can also provide valuable insights.

What should one do if they suspect they are being scammed?

If you suspect a scam, cease all communications with the suspected parties, avoid making further payments, and report the matter to local authorities or relevant consumer protection agencies immediately.

Are there common signs of a fake gold scam?

Common signs include unrealistic offers, high-pressure sales tactics, lack of verifiable documentation, and requests for large sums of money through informal channels.

How can authorities better protect individuals from such scams?

Authorities can enhance protections by increasing public awareness, implementing stricter regulations on informal money transfer systems, and improving coordination between international law enforcement agencies to track and prosecute scammers.

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