The High Court has ordered that fake gold suspect Jared Otieno’s KSh30 million Porsche Panamera be released.
Justice John Onyiego asked the police to release the car to Otieno, a close ally of the disgraced Chris Obure, claiming that there was no proof it was bought using proceeds of crime.
The judge said the high-end vehicle, which has been lying at the CID headquarters, is wasting away due to vagaries of weather.
However, the Assets Recovery Agency is preparing an appeal, arguing that the car will deteriorate in value and defeat the push to have it forfeited to the State.
Flamboyant Otieno is one of the well-known gold scammers at the centre of a Directorate of Criminal Investigations probe into a racket that conned a Dubai royal of KSh300 million in the guise that they would sell him gold worth the millions.
Last year, he was charged with obtaining the KSh300 million from Sounthorn Chanthavong, a director of Simoung Group Company, claiming that he would sell him gold.
The car was impounded last year alongside a custom-made 2018 Bentley Continental GT worth at least KSh47 million as detectives investigated the fake gold ring.
The ARA failed to convince Justice Onyiego to reverse his decision to release the Porsche to Otieno, instead directing the agency to appeal his decision in the Court of Appeal.
“The applicant should concentrate with the appeal and if necessary, obtain a further stay of execution orders there,” he said, adding that if the appeal succeeds, the vehicle will be repossessed.
But Otieno, through his lawyer Paul Muite, opposed stating that the court had already pronounced itself on the matter, hence it had no jurisdiction to determine the case.
He said the vehicle was at greater risk of loss of utility and it should be released to Otieno and the logbook retained in court and a monthly inspection report tabled in court.
The agency reckons that the vehicles were proceeds of crime because Otieno, who is facing charges over fake gold claims, has no known source of income.
The ARA claimed he was part of an international syndicate which has been in existence since 2012, fraudulently obtaining from investors monies on the pretense that they have precious metals, including gold.
“The respondent has no source of legitimate income and has been filing nil returns with the Kenya Revenue Authority since 2014 to date, which is the period the said motor vehicles were acquired,” the application for preservation stated.