Prominent city lawyer Joel Kimutai Bosek is on the spot for allegedly working with rogue businessmen to swindle a Japanese national Sh72.9 million in a dubious gold scheme.
Speaking to the Sunday Nation, Japanese businessman Tasunori Asano said that Mr Bosek lured him in the deal and even handed him the role of being his manager and lawyer, but after the transactions took place he has remained Sh72.9 million poorer and without the gold.
Mr Asano claims that Mr Bosek - who represented former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang in the International Criminal Court - has been dilly-dallying in the case.
“He has continuously frustrated me, and from look of things I might end up not getting justice while the people who conned me continue leading a lavish lifestyle,” he said, adding that the investigations being conducted by the Kilimani Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) had stalled.
It was in 2016 when Mr Asano contacted Kenyan logistics firm Customs Cargo Handlers through its managers Solomon Ligaga and Allan Collins Illunga, and they agreed to sell him 100 kilograms of gold.
He claimed that due to the huge amount of money that was involved in the deal, he decided to involve the help of a lawyer, and Mr Ligaga and Mr Illunga introduced him to Mr Bosek. That was on February 19, 2017.
In the first deal, they committed themselves that they were in a position of supplying him with 100 kilograms of gold and that each kilo would cost Sh300,000.
He claims the lawyer then went ahead and drafted the first agreement where the payment was to be channelled through his bank account, in what Mr Asano said was to protect his interests.
Financial statements which include contracts signed between the parties, bank slips and police statements that are in our possession indicate that Mr Asano, in the first transaction, wired Sh30 million to Mr Bosek’s bank account.
“They then promised me that I will get the gold within five days. However, the cargo was never supplied, but instead the supplier started giving one excuse after another as to why the shipment could not be delivered,” Mr Asano told the Sunday Nation.
He claims the supplier instead demanded that he hands them more money, which prompted him to travel from Japan to Nairobi, and met the suppliers at his offices on September 12, 2018.
In the meeting, Mr Asano claims that they told him that they were unable to raise Sh37.5 million which they said was government tax before they could ship the consignment.
They convinced him by luring him that they will add an additional 37 kilograms of gold if he parted with the money meant for tax.
“The lawyer then assured me that all will be well and even offered to take into possession a further 40 kilograms of gold into a safe custody on condition that if they failed to deliver the gold as agreed, he could release it unconditionally to me,” he said in his statement.
Mr Asano said that Mr Bosek then acknowledged in writing that he had received the collateral of 40 kilograms of gold from directors of Customs Cargo Handlers, which he confirmed that he had placed in safe custody in a bank located in Upper hill.
The Japanese then paid a further Sh37.5 million which he wired to the lawyer’s bank account.
Mr Asano claims that after the second payment, he still did not get the cargo within the five days as agreed.
The Japanese said that the two suppliers told him they were still facing trouble clearing the cargo for shipment, and this prompted him to demand copies of the documents in their possession to seek advice elsewhere.
“That is when it dawned on me that I had been conned by the three and that not even the lawyer was on my side. It is then that a friend, Mr Alphince Mumo of Alimann Logistics, told me that the documents that were handed to me by the three were fake,” he said.
Mr Asano regrets that the lawyer failed to act professionally and never protected him despite paying him a fee of Sh4.7 million.
“After realising that I had been conned and no shipment was forthcoming, I decided to invoke my rights under the Master Collateral Management Agreement dated September 13, to be given the collateral so that I could recoup my losses,” he bitterly narrates.
Mr Asano in his statement to DCI sleuths said that he believes the lawyer was part and parcel of the con game.
“I paid a total of US$722080 (Sh72.2 million) to Mr Bosek to facilitate this transaction, but I have received nothing in return. Mr Bosek should be investigated for criminal misconduct,” he wrote in the police statement.
What is even more shocking, Mr Musyoki Kimanthi, a lawyer who was hired by Mr Asano to assist him follow the case, said that a man identifying himself as Collins Nzioki turned up to his office and offered him a 10 percent kickback of the money that was swindled from the Japanese.
After realising that the officers attached to Kilimani Police station were not pursuing the matter, Mr Asano decided to seek the help of the Independent Police Oversight Authority (Ipoa).
Ipoa then wrote to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters on January 14, referenced IPOA/CMU/2555/2018, asking them to find out why their officers failed to pursue the matter.
When the Sunday Nation contacted the lawyer, he denied any wrongdoing. He said that he acted professionally, and was exonerated by investigating officers.
He said that he was severally caught up in a web of disagreements between the Japanese national and the gold sellers.
“All the money that I paid to the gold dealers were after I was instructed by my client; he is the one who was responsible for verifying whether the gold was there or not. My role was purely facilitating payments,” he said.