Saturday, April 13, 2024

Kenyan in Saudi heartbroken after farmhand ate Sh. 200,000 potato harvest

Telephone farming has become common for those living abroad, who have directed their earnings towards the farm. On most occasions, these are people who rarely step on their farms.

As a result, they hire ‘trusty’ farm managers to oversee all farming operations. All they have to do is send money to buy implements, facilitate services and pay salaries.

Telephone farming has not gone well for many people in Kenya. On most occasions, these farmers find themselves falling victim to scams, resulting in the loss of their hard-earned money.

One such farmer is a lady living and working in Saudi Arabia. Jedidah Wangechi decided to invest in potato farming back home in Kenya, seeking lucrative returns on her investment. She partnered with a friend to start this venture.

To manage the farm, she enlisted the services of a family friend David Waweru to oversee potato farming.

“Potato farming is good and will not fail you. I talked to my friend, who also chipped in. My brother went to the farm, and we had everything; land, seeds and fertilisers etc,” she said.

Waweru cultivated the land, and before long, they began to see the fruits of their labour on the 2.5-acre farm located in Narok.

The farm manager kept her updated with videos of the progress. He would also request funds to cover various farm-related expenses.

“I used to send money after every two weeks. We had farmed 2 acres of land then we also did half an acre as a way of paying him,” she said in a video.

Potatoes take between 3-4 months before they are harvested. Waweru kept on asking for more money until eventually, the Saudi lady began to smell a rat.

“I used to call him, and he never picked up my phone. He told my mum that his phone was not working,” Jedidah added.

Jedidah decided to send her brother to the farm to conduct due diligence and see whether everything was going according to plan.

“When I called my brother, he refused to pick up my calls and kept blue-ticking me. Eventually, I learnt what had happened; he had harvested the crops and spent all the money.”

Her parents decided to make the journey to Narok and follow up with the case of missing farm produce. Jedidah was compelled to pay for their fare, food and accommodation.

“He almost beat my dad when they asked him what happened. He used to get very agitated whenever my family asked him about the venture,” said the mother of one.

Eventually, a report was made at a local police station to arrest David Waweru. She had to fork out Sh. 7,000 as a bribe for the officers to make the arrest and be given an OB number.

“I was given an OB number. I even sent Sh. 7,000 to facilitate Waweru’s arrest since the first police station refused to arrest him.”

After being apprehended, Waweru claimed that he and Jedidah were in a romantic relationship and planning to get married.

Lady working in Saudi flies to Kenya to chase Sh. 300,000 sent to wrong number

Despite noticing the red flags from her farm manager, Jedidah chose to overlook them, fearing his agitation whenever she brought it up. Officers seized Waweru’s motorbike as collateral and discovered that the bike belonged to a company.

“His bike was confiscated but I haven’t received any help. After 3 months nothing was addressed and the company that owned his motorbike wanted it back. I never got any justice,” she said.

Jedidah Wangechi is now faced with the task of repaying her friend Sh. 200,000 capital that she had invested and never got any returns from it.

In an interview with a local media house, Waweru noted it was true he had received Sh. 170,000 from Jedidah which he used to plant on the farm and facilitate smooth operations.

“We were supposed to get 170 bags but only got 6.5 bags of potatoes. The potatoes were as small as ball gums and they didn’t work out well,” he said, adding that he was facing financial challenges at the moment, but would work to repay her over time.

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