Friday, July 19, 2024

How Kirinyaga couple lost Sh. 19.2 million in ‘money washing’ scam

Money Washing: Three fraudsters conned a Kirinyaga couple of Sh. 19.2 million in a money multiplication scheme after compensation by the National Irrigation Board for their parcel of land have been convicted by a court of law.

The convicted fraudsters are Alexander Miriti Mugambi, Cyrus Mwaura Kamau and Margret Muthoni.

They conned Moses Gitari Kirango and Mary Wambui Njagi of the cash they had received as compensation for their land acquired for construction of a dam.

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Muthoni lured her cousin – Mary Wambui Njagi, and her husband Moses Gitari Kirango into the fraud promising to increase their money to Sh 56.1 million at a cost of Sh 1.2 million but they ended up losing the entire payout by NIB in January 2013.

The fraudsters were found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and obtaining money by false pretenses by a Makadara law court and will be sentenced on Thursday.


They were found to have conspired with others to defraud the couple the money by deceit while falsely pretending that they were in a position to multiply the said money to a total of Sh56,100,000 on diverse dates between January and June 2013 at different places in Nairobi and Kiambu Counties.

Wambui had approached Muthoni for a Sh90,000 loan to take her daughter to university before she was introduced to the money laundering scheme where they were to collude with an alleged official at currency maker De La Rue to get money making chemicals and papers.

“I do find that the intention to defraud was clearly proven and that it was that the accused persons would double the complainant’s money. This amounts to defrauding because only the government has the legal tender to process money,” chief magistrate Heston Nyaga ruled.


“I don’t think that it matters that the scheme itself was illegal from the word go. The accused are the ones who induced the complainants to join the scheme to double (the) money. In their foolishness, for lack of a better word, the complainants fell into the snare – sink, line and hook.”

The fraud started immediately Wambui informed her husband who later met Muthoni and ended after they lost all the cash and the fraudsters stopped picking calls.

Muthoni told Gitari that she had a friend a police officer working at cash making firm Dela Rue, only identified as George.

Muthoni spoke to the said “policeman” who asked for Sh400,000. Gitari had withdrawn the money already and gave it to Muthoni to take it to “officer”.

But the said officer refused to take the money saying the money washing chemicals which were available were worth Sh1.2 million. After two days, Gitari went and withdrew Sh800,000 from Equity Bank Kerugoya and handed it over to Muthoni.

They later went to De La Rue picked the chemicals, and proceeded to the “policeman’s” house to make the money. After making Sh10,000 Gitari was informed that the money was not coming through well.

Gitari was told that the chemical had been contaminated and asked to withdraw a further Sh400,000 for more chemical. He withdrew the money and gave it to the “policeman”. That night, they made Sh 800,000.

The policeman and his friend asked for Sh 100,000 as service fee. Gitari paid them the amount and took the remaining Sh700,000 to bank and was accepted.

He was then asked to provide more money so as to make more profits. He withdrew Sh3 million and gave the amount to Muthoni, the “policeman” and his friend.

This went on until the couple was conned everything. In her defense, Muthoni insinuated a long rooted dispute between her family and the complainants.

But Nyaga said it does not go down to the root issue of whether or not she acted with a common intention with Mugambi and Kamau to defraud the complainants.

This story on money washing scams popularly known as wash wash was first published in the online journal Nairobi News.

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