DCI Arrests Duo Allegedly Behind Covid-19 Cash Transfer Scam

  • DCI Director Geroge Kinoti reads through the Talino forensics workstation manual on April 28, 2020.
    DCI Director Geroge Kinoti reads through the Talino forensics workstation manual on April 28, 2020.
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  • The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Sunday, May 31, arrested two men in Kisii County in connection with a scam that has seen several Kenyans duped and left expecting supposed cash transfers from the government during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The DCI disclosed that many had fallen victim to the fraud, with the scammers alleged to have used a fake Facebook page impersonating a prominent Kenyan woman to reach a wide audience.

    Victims were informed that the prominent woman's office was involved in registration of vulnerable individuals to receive a cash stipend of Ksh30,000 as part of the government's program to support vulnerable households during the pandemic.

    Those who fell prey to the scheme paid Ksh599 as a supposed registration fee and were promptly blocked by the fraudsters on all communication channels.

    One of two individuals arrested by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in connection with a Covid-19 cash transfer scam on May 31, 2020
    One of two individuals arrested by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in connection with a Covid-19 cash transfer scam on May 31, 2020
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    A manhunt launched by the DCI after reported complaints about the scam led to the arrest of Brian Osoro Nyariki and Duke Sabungi Ongweso, both 22 years old.

    The DCI revealed that the suspects also operated several other social media accounts which they used to post fake testimonials from those who had supposedly benefit from the cash, drawing in more gullible victims.

    The duo was found in possession of more than 50 SIM cards from different mobile networks, likely used to perpetuate the fraud.

    They are to be charged with Publication of False Information in contravention of Section 23 of Computer Misuse and Cyber Crime Act and Obtaining Money by False Pretence contravening Section 313 of the Penal Code.

    The national government had announced the identification of 250,000 households in informal settlements across the country's urban centres to benefit from a regular stipend during the pandemic.

    Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i on May 11, told a Senate Committee that they had verified the mobile numbers of the families, with the funds to be transferred under mobile money.

    Each household was slated to receive Ksh1,000 a week for the purchase of essential food items, with Matiang'i acknowledging it was not enough to provide absolute comfort.

    “The study that we carried out showed that these people with a budget of Ksh4000 a month, they can afford a basic livelihood, not absolute comfort but basic livelihood,” he told the committee.

    One of two individuals arrested by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in connection with a Covid-19 cash transfer scam on May 31, 2020
    One of two individuals arrested by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in connection with a Covid-19 cash transfer scam on May 31, 2020
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