Francis Edward Strange, a 56-year-old New Zealander who was assumed dead for almost 30 years, got back in touch with his family in a strange turn of events. Strange was reportedly in custody in Kenya for defrauding a mining company of millions of dollars.
Francis was in jail for the past six months in Kenya for failing to arrange the money required for bail. He reportedly contacted his family in New Zealand so that they could help him pay. If found guilty, Francis can face a jail term of seven years.
Gerard Strange, who is a farmer in Waihi, said that the family thought Francis was dead until his mother received a call from his brother two weeks back.
“Well the last name says it all really. It’s all a bit strange to us, bizarre actually,” the Stuff.co.nz quoted Gerard as saying. “But it was definitely great to hear his voice. We don’t know all the background about why he hasn’t made contact for so long and we’re not here to judge. He’s family and we’re glad to hear from him.”
The New Zealand Herald reported that the he appealed to a Kenyan High Court against his bail conditions claiming that he was attacked by a convicted murderer twice and was only saved by other inmates of the jail. His appeal was accepted five months later. His bail amount was also reduced considerably.
Francis has been granted bail on strict conditions which includes surrendering his passport and living in the capital city of Nairobi. He appeared before the court on Tuesday to face allegations of stealing equipment and gold from a mining company in Narok County.
The convicted Kiwi, who hails from Paeroa, last contacted his family in 1990. He was living in Sydney then and moved to Tokyo the following year. He travelled from Japan to Kenya to get involved with the mining company.