Details have emerged of a thriving criminal enterprise in Nairobi, which is minting billions through fake currency.

Investigations by The Standard show that an estimated 20 Members of Parliament are involved in the lucrative yet illegal business raking in millions of shillings from counterfeit money and gold.

The criminal enterprise is also made up of crooked police officers, fast-talking wheeler-dealers, immigration officers, bankers, high-end hotels and judicial officers.

The fake currency and gold are stashed in secure safe boxes rented out from conniving bankers as was the case in Barclays Bank Queensway branch where fake currency equivalent to Ksh 2 Billion was recovered after a raid by police.

Scouts are often sent by the criminal enterprise to popular tourist destinations like Dubai, where they check into presidential suites in five-star hotels, cutting the image of rich businessmen and pretended to be mingling with the rich and famous.

File image of a Safe box nabbed with Sh2 billion fake foreign currency at Barclays Bank Queens Way Branch
File image of a Safe box nabbed with Sh2 billion fake foreign currency at Barclays Bank Queens Way Branch

One of the victims of the criminal enterprise identified as Christophe Francois Berillion, lost $192,500 (Sh19.25 million) to two men and one woman who were arrested on January 17 this year for allegedly defrauding a foreigner, by pretending to sell him gold.

The three suspects were charged with committing the offence on diverse dates between December 16, 2018 and January 10, 2019.

However, immigration officials quickly moved in and deported the complainant for flouting visa rules which does not allow visitors to engage in business.

With the complainant out, the case has since gone cold.

In yet another case in August 2018, a South American businessman who lost 86 Million to the racketeers was hastily deported for flouting visa rules which does not allow visitors to engage in business after

The businessman flew into Nairobi in pursuit of gold he had been promised by the racketeers. However, when he realised that he had been defrauded of Sh86 million, he reported the matter at a city police station and three suspects were arrested.

However, the Brazilian was deported by Immigration officials who accused him of abusing his tourist visa as he was not supposed to work or trade in Kenya.

Fake cash recovered in a house in Ruiru
Fake cash recovered in a house in Ruiru

The multiagency operations involves immigration officials who allegedly act swiftly to deport victims once they have been coned for allegedly flouting visa rules which does not allow visitors to engage in business. The racketeers scout for new victims and establish contacts.

In two separate cases that made headlines, Sh 32 Billion in fake currency was retrieved by the police during a raid at a residential house in Ruiru.

Less than a month later, a raid at Barclays Bank Queensway branch saw police net more than Sh 2 Billion in fake currency and a consignment of fake gold stashed in a saf belonging to one Mr. Eric Otieno Adede.