A serial fraudster linked to the Sh1 billion gold scam that was exposed by the police three weeks ago dramatically avoided arrest on Thursday sending detectives who have been searching for him back to the drawing board.
Joseph Lendrix Waswa has been missing since September 9 when police raided a house in Garden Estate, Nairobi after a Tunisian national reported that he was on the verge of losing a billion shillings to a notorious fake gold syndicate.
A total of 15 suspects were arrested and charged with obtaining by false pretence.
Waswa and Samuel Maina of Melpa Limited who are said to be the ring leaders of the gang and the owners of the house where the transactions took place have been at large since then. The police told the court that the two were believed to be armed and dangerous and that their freedom could jeopardise investigations.
Yesterday, Waswa showed up at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) office at Nairobi Area Police Station armed with anticipatory orders preventing his arrest while accompanied by two lawyers.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the police are at liberty to investigate or charge the applicant for any criminal conduct. However, they shall not arrest or detain him in view of orders or until further orders of the court,” said the orders issued by Justice Diana Kavedza.
She further directed that the applicant’s advocates escort the applicant to the offices of the DCI for questioning and/or interview on September 21, 2023.
Additionally, the judge ordered the DCI and DPP to inform Waswa about the court they will charge him should they decide that he should be charged for taking part in the Sh1 billion gold fraud.
A charge sheet that the DCI had already prepared for charging Waswa which sauce.co.ke has seen shows that he was found in possession of 634,178 fake US dollars (Sh93 million).
“On September 7, 2023 at Villa Mawe in Garded Estate jointly with others not before court you were found with USD 634,178 in denominations of 100 which you knew were fake,” says the charge sheet.
Waswa, 35, is already facing charges of widespread fraud and even murder in court.
He is a well-connected guy and enjoys a circle of prominent people in society among them members of Parliament
In 2014 and 2015, Waswa was arrested for allegedly killing Mitch Kibiti, son to (former) Bungoma County Education Chief Officer David Kibiti, after a disagreement at his Etonia Club in Kimilili. He was arrested in Kisumu while on the run, trying to board a plane to Nairobi.
In 2015, Waswa caused drama at Bungoma Law Courts after showing up in court accompanied by 10 “bodyguards”. The incident forced officers from the Flying Squad to intervene arresting all the 10 bodyguards who were later released.
In 2016, Waswa was in the news after he offered a free air ticket to Saleh Wanjala, aka Bungoma’s ‘James Bond’, who hit the headlines after hanging on a helicopter in Bungoma carrying the body of Jacob Juma.
In December 2017, Waswa caused a stir in a remote village (Nzatani village) in Mwingi after he landed with four helicopters to pay dowry for his bride Moreen Tabitha.
On the occasion, he was accompanied by MPs Charles Nguna (Mwingi West), Babu Owino (Embakasi East), Caleb Amisi (Saboti) and Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills).
All hotels and guest rooms in Kitui Town were fully occupied on the day of the event. The budget for the event was above Sh5 million, with their wedding rings retailing at Sh1.6 million.
He was also part of a gang that mimicked retired president Uhuru Kenyatta’s voice in order to defraud late businessman Nashaud Merallli to part with Sh10 million for a fake land deal.