Malong said the gold would not return to Uganda since that would cause problems.
Dessie says Malong implored them to let Owino do the paperwork showing that the gold originated from Nairobi and facilitate its export.
Dessie and Abebe were then required to pay another $450,000 (about Sh45 million) to complete the process.
If they paid the taxes in Nairobi, Owino told the duo, they would get a gold origination certificate for Kenya and forget about Uganda and Congo.
Dessie and Abebe had already spent way beyond their limits by that time without getting anything back, and they just couldn’t raise the money that Malong and Owino said was needed to pay the taxes in Nairobi.
Because Dessie and Abebe said they had no money, Owino offered to help them by applying for a quick loan, a bond, to get the $450,000 (Sh45 million) required.
He presented to the duo what he called application documents for the bond, and filled them. But before the bond could be approved, he said he needed to facilitate the process.
So Dessie and Abebe had to raise $100,000 (Sh10 million) for that purpose.
The duo flew back to South Africa and returned with the $100,000 (Sh10 million) that Owino said was needed for facilitation.
Shortly afterwards, Malong told them that only a loan of $150,000 (Sh15 million) had been approved for Owino, and so Dessie and Abebe had to look for the extra $300,000 (Sh30 million) to pay the taxes.
If they could not raise the money, Dessie says Malong told them, they could as well accept to lose whatever they had invested until that time and go back home.
Dessie and Abebe chose to fight on.
They flew back to South Africa and Dessie mortgaged his house for $500,000 (Sh50 million), which he says he all sent to Malong because Malong said he also needed $200,000 (Sh20 million) for his expenditures while in Nairobi working on the duo’s issues.
When the duo returned to Nairobi, Dessie says Owino was optimistic that all would be fine, but he had a fresh piece of advice.
Instead of taking the gold to Dubai as the original plan had been, they should fly it to Hong Kong.
A week later, Dessie said, Owino was ready with the documentation that would help the duo fly their gold to Hong Kong.
But before they would fly, another problem cropped up.
The hitherto unnamed Congolese general, who was the owner of the gold, Malong told Dessie and Abebe, had grown suspicious that after selling the gold in Hong Kong, the duo could disappear without paying the rest of his money.
Malong told the duo that the general had appointed a ‘lawyer’ to represent him in the transaction, and that they needed to first fly back to Kampala to meet with the lawyer before they travelled to Hong Kong.
In Kampala, Dessie says they met a man who introduced himself as Tony, whose real name he says he later found out to be Hannington Tayoba.
The meeting happened at BMK House near Hotel Africana, Dessie says, in an office tagged as a ‘law firm’.
Dessie says Tony told them that he had instructions from the general to travel with them to Hong Kong, but that he would do that at the duo’s expense because he was going to help them and they were holding high value merchandise belonging to his client.
The duo bought for Tony a business ticket worth $3,000 (Sh300,000), and had to cater for his hotel and other expenses while in Hong Kong.
In total they, Dessie says, they gave him $10,000 (Sh1 million).
Tony told them that he did not know them and did not trust them, so he could not disclose to them which flight he was taking and when he would fly to Hong Kong.
He only told them the day they would meet him at the Sheraton hotel in Hong Kong.
Dessie says they travelled and slept in a much cheaper hotel because they could not afford the Sheraton, and went to see Tony on the appointed morning.
Before they left Kampala, Tony took the paperwork for his clients’ gold and Dessie and Abebe were to find him with it in Hong Kong.
The duo were not required to fly back to Nairobi because Owino told them that he had already sent the gold to Hong Kong.
On meeting Tony at the hotel, Dessie says, the law in Hong Kong required them to get the gold tested and have a testing certificate before it would be sold.
Tony called agents of the shipment firm Fedex and asked them to deliver the consignment to his hotel.
The box was delivered by two Chinese men and a Ugandan national who said he was working in Hong Kong with Fedex, Dessie says.
Dessie and Abebe were relieved to see the container that they had last seen at Entebbe airport months earlier, with their own padlock still intact.
Tony asked Dessie and Abebe to open the box and pick a gold bar of their choice which they would take for testing.
On opening, Dessie says he saw the same gold bars that he had seen when they locked the box. Dessie picked one of the bars and locked the box again.
After picking the bar, Dessie says, he asked the men and Tony whether they would leave the box in Tony’s hotel room so that they would sell the gold after testing.
Tony – “the lawyer” – and the Ugandan on the delivery team, Dessie says, spoke to each other in a language Dessie and Abebe did not understand, perhaps Luganda, and Tony later told the buying duo that that would not be possible.
Tony explained to Dessie and Abebe that the Ugandan man had just broken the Fedex rules by smuggling out the box because the box could only be released to them after they paid everything to Fedex, including $45,000 (Sh4.5 million) for storage.
Dessie and Abebe were in Hong Kong, and did not have the money to pay for storage.
But they had to deal with the testing aspect.
Using the Google search engine, Dessie said they found a contact of a refinery that dealt in gold testing and purchase.
After picking the bar, they headed to the refinery for testing.
At this moment, Tony asked to be the one to hold the gold bar, to which Dessie and Abebe yielded because they saw no reason to object.
They got to the refinery and the bar, on being tested, turned out to be 97.6 pure gold and 23 karat, says Dessie.
The people at the refinery liked the bar and wanted to buy it.
They were prepared to pay $41,000 (Sh4.1 million) per kilogramme of gold, Dessie says.
Tony refused to sell it to them. Asked why, Dessie says, Tony said they had to return it to Fedex and have the box cleared with all its contents intact.
The refinery people gave them the testing certificate and they left.
Dessie and Abebe now had to clear the hurdle of paying the $45,000 (Sh4.5 million)to Fedex for storage before they would at last be able to sell the gold the following day.
Dessie says he called his Chinese friend and asked for a one-day loan of that amount.
The Chinese friend, Dessie says, did not have the money ready, but said he would give him the money the following morning.
Dessie and Abebe went with Tony to his hotel, had dinner and finally retired to their low-end hotel in the knowledge that their pursuit of many months would mature the following day.
Early on the appointed morning, at 9am, Dessie and Abebe were at the Sheraton Hotel in Hong Kong, having already picked the $45,000 (Sh4.5 million) from Dessie’s dutiful Chinese friend.
They were ready to pay Fedex, get their merchandise and proceed to the refinery to sell it.
And here came the shocker: They did not find Tony at the hotel.
The phone number by which they had been contacting him was switched off.
They tried to contact the room in which he had been booked and he was not there. Hotel staff later informed them that he had checked earlier that morning.
“We cried; we did not know what to do,” Dessie says. They rushed to the airport hoping to get a hold of Tony. No chance.
In panic, Dessie and Abebe called Malong, who had stayed back in Kampala, and explained what had happened.
Ever the calm actor, Dessie says, Malong told them that they needed not worry.
He was the son of a ‘general’; and the gold belonged to another ‘general’.
No one could cross the paths of the two generals because it is very dangerous, Dessies says Malong assured them.
They flew back to Kampala to meet Malong and his group for a solution.
Dessie says that he and Abebe, in the company of Malong and Gavana, met Tony in the office they had first met him on BMK House.
Tony told them he had abandoned them in Hong Kong because he did not trust them and “did not want to waste time with us”.
Dessie says Tony told them he was busy at the moment but that he would be available to travel with them again in two weeks’ time now that there had been more confidence building.
The duo spent the two weeks at Speke Resort Munyonyo waiting for Tony.
After the waiting period elapsed, Dessie says, Tony informed them that the paperwork they had from the revenue office in Nairobi had a spelling error that had to be fixed first before they would travel back to Hong Kong.
It would cost $100,000 (Sh1 million). He showed them the document that needed to be fixed.
They wondered how he would get paperwork made in Nairobi fixed from Kampala. Tony said that is what he is good at.
Dessie and Abebe travelled back to South Africa and mobilised the $100,000 (Sh10 million), which he says they sent to Malong to pass on to Tony.
On returning from South Africa, Tony also informed Dessie and Abebe that that the general, the owner of the gold, was short of money and the deal was moving at creeping pace.
He needed $100,000 (Sh10 million) to feed his fighters.
The duo returned to South Africa, got the money and passed it to Tony, after which he said he now trusted them enough to travel with them again.
But before they would travel to Hong Kong again, Tony told the duo that the bond Owino had contracted in Nairobi on their behalf to support their tax payment had expired, and Dessie and Abebe had to pay the $150,000 (Sh15 million).
Dessie and Abebe, devoid of cash, turned to Malong for advice on how they would proceed.
He says Malong told them that he would call the wife of the Congolese general, whom he called “madem general”, and ask for help.
‘Madam general’ did not have cash when Malong called her, however, but she offered them 50kgs of gold to sell in Uganda so that they would raise money to get by.
Dessie says they told Malong that they did not know any gold buyers in Uganda, so the 50kgs of gold would not help them.
Dessie says Malong told them he knew gold buyers in Uganda.
With the issue of market now disposed of, there remained the issue of how the gold would leave Congo for Uganda.
Malong asked Dessie and Abebe to raise $30,000 (Sh3 million) for transport, which they did. After this money was available, Malong also said he would have to go to Congo and needed $10,000 (Sh1 million).
That too he was given, Dessie says.
After ‘returning’ with the gold, Dessie and Abebe now looked to Malong to have it sold. Malong said he would invite Owino to come over and take it to Nairobi for sale.
When they contacted Owino, the 2017 election campaigns were at their peak.
Owino claimed to be related to Raila Odinga, who was running for president, and that he was too involved in his campaign to spare time to come to Uganda.
Malong then advised Dessie and Abebe to first go back to South Africa and look for money.
The duo returned from South Africa with $100,000 (Sh10 million) and handed it over to Gavana to facilitate a return to Hong Kong to sell the 50kgs of gold.
The documentation was prepared and soon they were on a flight back to Hong Kong.
At Entebbe airport, they were given a tracking number to follow the 50kgs of gold that they were told was on its way to Hong Kong.
On reaching Hong Kong and checking using the tracking number, however, the consignment of 50kgs of gold was in Dubai headed for Brussels, Belgium.
The panicky duo called Gavana to find out what was happening.
Gavana told them that the consignment had been held by the United Nations in Dubai and they needed $30,000 (Sh3 million) to facilitate the process of having it released.
From Hong Kong, Dessie says he called a family member in South Africa to send $30,000 (Sh3 million) to Gavana in Kampala.
By the time the money was sent, the tracking system showed that the gold had reached Brussels.
Gavana told the duo that the UN had held the gold again. It was coming to December 2017.
Dessie says Malong told them that was a bad time because general, the owner of the gold, was sick in hospital but would have the gold released in the new year (2018) when he gets well and after the festivities.
The duo had stayed in Hong for two weeks waiting for gold that did not reach them.
Malong advised them to go back home to South Africa and that since the 50kgs of gold was stuck in Brussels, the more convenient thing was to mobilise $150,000 (Sh15 million) and facilitate the selling of the 150kgs of gold, which was already in Hong Kong.
Dessie and Abebe decided to fly to Kampala instead and get a clearer picture of how they would proceed in the new year.
They met with Malong’s group and Tony at his office, again. They wanted Tony to break down the costs that stood in the way of the Hong Kong deal being completed.
Tony said they needed to pay the $150,000 (Sh15 million) for the bond in Nairobi; $100,000 (Sh10 million) which was the accumulated bill due to Fedex for storage; and $50,000 (Sh5 million) for Tony’s facilitation.
Dessie says he returned to South Africa and mortgaged his rental residential building to a money lender, who gave him $300,000 (Sh30 million).
They returned to Uganda and he handed the money to Tony, he says in the presence of Malong and the entire group, at his office at BMK house.
He also gave Tony $10,000 (Sh10 million) for transport and other costs for the trip to Hong Kong.
Like before, Tony would travel separately and would meet the duo at the Sheraton Hotel in Hong Kong.
They got there on the appointed day and Tony was not there.
The telephone number he had given them to contact him on was switched off.
Dessie and Abebe contacted Malong about Tony’s absence in Hong Kong, and Malong later asked them to fly to Nairobi, where he said he had discovered Tony had gone instead.
In Nairobi, the duo met with Owino, who told them that there had been another problem.
In Hong Kong, Owino said, the authorities had found out that the gold had originated from DR Congo yet the paperwork showed that it had come from Nairobi.
Owino told the duo that to get out of the situation, they needed to give him $50,000 (Sh5 million).
Dessie says they told Malong that they did not have that money and only managed to give him $5,000 (Sh500,000).
“He took the $5,000 (Sh500,000) and started dissing us that we had only given him $5,000 (Sh500,000),” Dessie says.
Perhaps realising that the duo had spent to the last penny, Owino now lost interest in them and eventually told them that the gold had been returned to DR Congo.
Then the duo turned to Malong about the way forward, Dessie says Malong confirmed to them that the general had indeed received the gold in Congo.
It was already Christmas time and Malong advised them to return home to South Africa and resume the business in the new year.
In early 2018, Dessie says they contacted Malong again, who then said he had contacted general’s wife and would help them to take the gold to Lusaka, Zambia.
They were again required to spend money while in Lusaka.
Dessie sent $10,000 (Sh1 million) to facilitate the business in Lusaka, but he says they later got upset when they were asked for another $60,000 (Sh6 million).
In the meantime, players kept dropping off the scene, with Owino and Tony now unavailable.
When Dessie met Malong again, he says Malong claimed that he was angry with Tony for crossing him, and that he was looking for him.
Dessie tried a hunt down for Tony of his own, returning to the office on BMK House, but in vain.
After all options were exhausted, Dessie opened a case against the group in Nairobi, and was later referred to Uganda because most of the activity and players were in Kampala.
Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard
Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.
However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard
President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow
Drastic life changes affecting mental health
Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.
Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.
Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.
The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.
Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 20153
With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.
In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020. It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.
A study by Dr. Habil Otanga, a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.
KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.
Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.
As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.
“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”
Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.
“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.
Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.
“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”
Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.
“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.
Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.
Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.
She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.
Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.
“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added
Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.
“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and also engage in reading that would help expand their knowledge.