Kenyan jailed in Britain over Sh45 million stolen cars racket


Stephen RutoA British court has jailed a Kenyan man for four years after stolen cars destined for Africa were traced to him.

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Police traced two cars to Stephen Ruto at Fast Safe Storage in Smethwick, according to a BBC report.

The cars, a Ford Focus valued at, Sh458, 646 and a Sh11,007,519 Range Rover were traced to him.

Ruto, 48, from Birmingham, was convicted by Shrewsbury Crown Court on Tuesday of the acquisition, retention and use of stolen property.

West Midlands Police said 17 cars with a value of Sh45,864,664 had been recovered.

Ruto told police he had been a manager at Fast Safe Storage, but the company disputes this.

Malik Hussain Muzafar, a manager there, said Ruto had not been an employee but had hired a unit from the firm and shipped containers abroad.

According to the BBC, Ruto was first arrested for handling stolen cars in 2010 after vehicles that had arrived in west Africa were traced back to him.

He was released without charge after denying any wrongdoing, saying he had not been present when they were loaded and had been acting on customers’ instructions.

But in July 2012, ports police inspected a shipment to Africa and discovered a Nissan Murano, reported stolen from Leicester in 2011; and a BMW X5, stolen from London in 2012.

Both vehicles had false registration plates.

The shipment was traced back to Ruto, from Sommerfield Road, Woodgate, and had been loaded at the storage company in Smethwick, police said.

Over several months, port authorities inspected more shipments and saw several stolen cars appearing on manifests among legal cargoes.

Police discovered false shipping documents, fictional addresses and bogus names, as well as photographic evidence of several of the cars at the storage business.

“Ruto was involved in a very lucrative business, as British cars can fetch up to four times their worth in Africa,” said investigating officer Det Con Darren Brown.

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