You can just imagine it, can’t you? The secondhand car salesman says, “Lovely motor sir: state-of-the-art sir. Only one previous owner, an elderly gentleman, hardly used it. You’ll have no problems with a car like this sir”.
And lovely motor it was too, Sh18 million’s-worth (when new) of Range Rover. The problem was however, that the previous owner was none other than His Excellency, the Former President of Kenya, Daniel arap Moi from whom the car had been stolen in 2008 whilst at a CMC garage. Four years later and it is found in, allegedly, the ownership of Mr Fred Gumo, acting minister for Regional Development and Local Government. There the mystery deepens.
STOLEN FROM CMC IN 2008
First let the Kenya Forum give due recognition to The Star newspaper that broke the original story in 2008 and has taken the lead in the printed press in revealing the latest twists and turns in the Moi-Gumo cars saga.
Back to 2008. The Star reported that thieves had broken into a supervisor’s office at a CMC garage in Nairobi’s Industrial area, stole documentation for a ‘grass green’ Range Rover and drove off in the vehicle which was on order to Moi and in the garage for a ‘pre-inspection test’. The Nation, however, reported that the car had been taken to CMC for repairs after an accident at Kijabe on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.
MARTIN FORSTER AND ASHOK SHAH
Six members of CMC’s staff were later charged with the theft but the vehicle itself not recovered. The chief executive of CMC, Martin Forster, claimed on the company’s insurance with APA Insurance, the chief executive of which, Mr Ashok Shah, was also on the board of CMC. Shah/APA Insurance however, refused to pay the claimed Sh18 million whereupon amidst some acrimony Forster cancelled the insurance contract between CMC and APA Insurance.
A few months later, a Mr Shashi Shah, CMC’s group finance director, who according to The Star, ‘apparently had the backing of Ashok Shah, was sacked following board-level demands for a ‘clean-up’ of CMC’s ‘bank reconciliation accounts’.
COMPUTER SEARCH REVEALS CAR STOLEN
Now to September 2012. A Range Rover bearing the registration plate KBQ 455S was booked into CMC’s garage by ‘aides’ of Fred Gumo but a check on the company’s computer system revealed that it was the same car that had been stolen in 2008. The police and insurers were called in.
It transpired that this was not the first time the Range Rover had been sent to CMC for servicing, it having been done so on several occasions including three times in 2010 but each time with different number plates. The latest and presumably last delivery of the Range Rover to CMC occurred only days after suspected corrupt staff had been sacked.
FRED GUMO UNAWARE CAR STOLEN – “I RARELY USE IT”
Fred Gumo told The Star that an unnamed businessman had been trying to sell him the car but the deal had not been completed and the car’s papers had not been delivered. According to The Nation, Gumo told the police that he was unaware the car had been stolen.
The Nation’s reporting of Fred Gumo’s comments on the matter make for even more curious reading.
“I traded in my vehicle with a Mombasa businessman to get this car”, he reportedly told The Nation, “However, I rarely use it because I never received all the documents”. Gumo also said that he had at one time returned the vehicle to the seller but repossessed it after his money was not refunded and added, according to The Nation, ‘that he has taken the vehicle to CMC for service many times’.
SOME QUESTIONS ARISING…
The story throws up more questions than answers at this point.
If Fred Gumo did not own the car, or even “rarely used it”, why did he have it serviced at CMC so often?
If it is the Range Rover stolen from CMC in 2008, would Fred Gumo, or indeed any other reasonably intelligent human being, have returned it to the place from which it was taken for servicing if he had been aware that it was stolen and from where?
Questions must be asked too regarding the refusal of APA Insurance to honour the insurance policy in 2008 especially given that the claim came from a friend or associate, Martin Forster, regarding a car that belonged (possible) to former President Moi. APA must have had had their reasons. What were they?
MOMBASA BUSINESSMAN TO BE CHARGED
The Star reports this morning that a Mombas businessman, a Mr Yusuf Abdalla, will appear in court today charged with the ‘theft of Moi’s Range Rover in 2008’.
That, the Kenya Forum predicts, will not be the end of the story.
FRED GUMO AND MOI’S MYSTERY MACHINES PART II…
Another tale of doubtful ownership of a motor car, former President Moi, of missing logbooks and unidentified thieves…
Further to the Kenya Forum’s posting this morning – ‘Fred Gumo and the Mystery of Moi’s Stolen Range Rover’ – it transpires that this is not the first time there has been some confusion over a vehicle previously owed by the former President that was subsequently linked to the current acting Minister for Development and Local Government.
As Mr Gumo faces questions about who owns the Range Rover that allegedly appeared to be in his possession four years after it was stolen when at the time it when it belonged to former president Moi, he now faces further questions about a Volkswagen Combi that has been detained by the police in Nairobi’s Industrial Area since 2004.
MOI’S VOLKSWAGEN AND GUMO’S UGANDAN BUSINESS PARTNER
The Star reports today that eight years ago the Volkswagen was driven by a Mr William Kasujja, a Ugandan ‘business partner’ of Fred Gumo’s who was involved in Gumo’s election campaign in Westlands in 2002.
Kasujja, it is alleged, was unable to pay a bill of Sh500,000 due to the Sirona Hotel in Parklands who then sold off the vehicle to help settle the debt. A city lawyer bought it but the car was impounded after reported it as stolen by ‘unidentified people’.
MOI GAVE IT TO ME SAID GUMO
The vehicle was held at the compound because Fred Gumo was unable to present a logbook proving ownership after he reported the car stolen and went to claim ownership. He told the police that Moi had given him the Volkswagen.
The Combi resides to this day in the Industrial Area although it has since been burnt out following a fire at a nearby rubbish dump which spread to the compound.
Again there are questions to be asked.
If Moi gave the vehicle to Gumo, why did he not arrange for the transfer of logbook details in order to gain a valuable and useful machine?
Can former President Moi confirm that he gave the Combi to Gumo?
A car, formerly owned by Moi, stolen by unidentified people, logbook missing… where have we heard that before?
As the Kenya Forum said this morning, this story isn’t over yet.