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How Raila Unmasked Matiang’i Impostor in Dubai

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On Saturday, April 27, in the United Arab Emirates, President Uhuru Kenyatta reportedly met with the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)  who is the emir (ruler) of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The Emir is said to have raised concerns about problems he was having with his gold consignment that was to be airlifted through Nairobi.The Emir is reported to have produced an audio recording that was replayed to the President purportedly in a conversation between the Royal family’s representative and a Kenyan contact.

The recording is believed to be the same one that was leaked online at the weekend, and which prompted a statement from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji directing the police to investigate the audio clip titled “Wetang’ula exposed in fake gold scam,” apparently referring to Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula.Officials aware of the meeting in Dubai say also present was Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who is also the African Union’s High Representative for Infrastructural Development.

The leaders were returning from a summit in China.Raila and Uhuru had stopped over in Dubai for a weekend-long meeting on their way from Beijing, where they had attended the Belt and Roads Forum, a signature project for Chinese President Xi Jinping to connect Africa, Asia and Europe, officials said.

During the meeting, the Dubai ruler is said to have shared with Uhuru the audio that captured a conversation between his nephew Ali Zandi and the Kenyan contact, and also explained how they had been taken in circles in Nairobi over the gold consignment that was to be trucked from DRC Congo and flown out via Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.The Sheikh had been told by their Kenyan contacts the gold consignment had been seized at JKIA, but authorities say the Dubai ruler was conned as there was no such cargo.

It would appear Sheikh Maktoum had decided to raise the matter personally with Uhuru because it had been three months since he had lodged a protest with Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i over the gold consignment allegedly seized at JKIA.In the January 20 letter, the Sheikh had requested immediate action regarding the shipment of gold under “our company’s name Zlivia, which is being retained by your authorities in Kenya.

READ ALSO:   Matiangi orders the closure of all bars in the country for two days and Kenyans react

”The Sheikh had acknowledged that he understood the delay “was caused by the last terrorist attack in your country” apparently referring to the dusitD2 terror attack on January 15.“Nevertheless, now we need your immediate and strong action to release the totality of Zlivia Gold shipment to UAE as soon as possible and according to the instructions by our General Manager Mr Zandi, who is there in Kenya to organise the shipment.”“It is quite urgent to solve this issue the earliest,” the letter by the Dubai ruler had read.

Zandi flew to Nairobi on the eve of Christmas Day, last year – and was still in Kenya by the time the Sheikh wrote to Dr Matiang’i – to try to trace the gold haul from Ndande Tribe in DRC Congo since it had been three months since the deal was sealed with the Kenyan contacts.The scheme started on September 25, last year, when the group approached Zandi, who represents Zlivia Company, a gold trading company based in Dubai.

They had said they would deliver 4.6 tonnes of gold.Zandi had been in Kenya for almost a month and left sometime in February, without the precious cargo. Having reached a dead end, it would appear the Sheikh saw an opportunity in Uhuru’s stopover in Dubai to seek his intervention.  On returning back to the country, Uhuru reportedly summoned his security bosses and played the audio to them.Among those present in the meeting were Matiang’i, National Intelligence Service boss Maj Gen Philip Kameru, Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai and Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho.

Uhuru expressed concerns over the con games in the country for which JKIA is used as the operational base. The Head of State then demanded immediate action.That order apparently has triggered the police operation that has seen arrests of more than a dozen people and discovery of fake gold in Kileleshwa, Nairobi.The operation has also seen the arrest of businessman Jared Otieno, who was detained over claims he swindled a man from Laos Sh300 million on the pretence he would supply him with gold.

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The police say the operation against those behind several fake gold deals in the country is ongoing and more suspects are set to be arrested. Other officials said the saga was first brought to the attention of the president in early April by Raila. This was after Raila flew to Dubai and met Sheikh Marktoum, who reportedly asked for his intervention to have the said gold weighing 4.6 tonnes released from JKIA.During the meeting at a hotel in Dubai, a Kenyan who has been mentioned in the saga was introduced to Raila as the one who was supposed to supply the said gold from DRC, but the commodity was detained at JKIA.

The Kenyan man was embarrassed when he called a man purporting to be Matiang’i on the phone only for Raila to declare the person on the other end was not the CS.“He put the phone on a loudspeaker and when Raila heard the voice of the other party, he intervened and declared it was not the CS. This ended the conversation,” said an official aware of the issue.It was at that point that Raila is said to have told the Dubai ruler they had been swindled and promised to raise the matter with the Kenyan officials. Raila is said to have flown back to Kenya and met the President and other security officials, and informed them of the saga.

Mr Haji has since given police seven days to investigate the leaked audio recording and give him a file for action.The DPP said he had personally received a complaint from victims of the scam claiming that the personality had been dealing with them for some time and invoking the President’s name in their dealings.Preliminary investigation has revealed that the scheme started on September 25, last year, when the group approached Zandi.

READ ALSO:   Magufuli beats Kenyatta to bag the prestigious Mandela Peace Prize

The group reportedly used known gold dealers, including a Russian national, to state that there was a huge amount of gold in DRC ready for movement to Dubai.On September 27, the Kenyans said the gold had been detained by customs officials at JKIA.According to the police, this prompted Zandi to call a Kenyan senator for help.On December 15, last year, the senator flew to Dubai on the invitation of Zandi, for a meeting, during which he assured them he would help secure the release of the gold. However, Zandi declined the demands for cash to facilitate the release and instead flew to Kenya on December 24.His efforts to meet senior Kenyan Government officials were unsuccessful. Instead, the Kenyan contacts took him to JKIA, where he was shown sealed boxes purportedly containing the gold.

Apparently, the extortion ring includes some Government officials who facilitate the movement of their victims to the secure section at JKIA, where they have leased space for their fraudulent businesses.On January 21, Zandi, who was still in the country, was moved to another hotel to meet a “senior Government official”, who would facilitate the release of the precious cargo. Those behind the scheme organised imposters, one masquerading as a powerful Cabinet secretary, who they drove at night in two four-wheel drive cars to the hotel in Karen.Zandi is said to have met the Government official in his car.

The official apparently assured that the gold would be released. He flew back to Dubai after a month. But the said gold never got to Dubai.Police say no such gold was held at the airport. Frustrated, Sheikh Maktoum wrote to Kenya to complain about the scam and demanded action on those behind it. The “seizure” was supposedly the first tranche of a 23-tonne gold consignment that was to be brought from the DRC. Police investigations show the senator flew to Dubai to convince the royal family he would use his connections to have the said gold released.

-Standardmedia.co.ke

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FBI – How Kenyans stole over Sh300 million from US firms

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On August 1 last year, employees at the finance department of the little-known Fairfax County, which forms part of the suburban ring of Washington, DC in the United States, received an email they believed to be from the headquarters of Dell Computers in Texas.

Fairfax had a running multimillion-dollar computer supply deal for its schools in the county, and the email indicated it had been written by the Accounts Payables department of Dell. It asked Fairfax to reroute its pending payments, which were almost due, to another account in Ohio.

ELECTRONIC TRANSFERS

Fairfax County obliged, and from August 8 to September 10 sent a total of $1,345,423.20 (Sh134 million) to the new account using electronic transfers. In total, the county sent 28 payments ranging from as low as $328 (Sh32,800) to as high as $241,223 (Sh2.4 million).

Unknown to the county, the money was being transferred almost immediately it hit the Ohio account to several other accounts worldwide before ending up thousands of kilometres away in the hustle and bustle of Nairobi. By September 10, when Fairfax County discovered it was being defrauded, some $526,517.04 (Sh52 million) had already been withdrawn in Nairobi.

“The fraudulent email account was very similar to a Dell employee’s true email address and contained revised banking information for Dell,” evidence filed in US courts would later say.

This discovery triggered a chain of investigations which were eventually taken over by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), which was deployed to Nairobi. The global hunt for the suspects, code-named Operation reWired, was then widened to include a search for criminals in similar schemes. It eventually led to the arrest of 281 suspects from nine countries and was only made public last week by the FBI.

Following that revelation, the Nation is today giving you details of one of the most brazen Kenyan cyber theft syndicates in recent history.

The FBI sweep resulted in the seizure of nearly $3.7 million (Sh384 million) and the disruption and recovery of approximately $118 million (Sh12 billion) in fraudulent wire transfers.

“The FBI is working every day to disrupt and dismantle the criminal enterprises that target our businesses and our citizens,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Through Operation Re Wired, we are sending a clear message to the criminals who orchestrate these Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes that ‘I will keep coming after you, no matter where you are’. The effects of this crime are far-reaching, and the dollar amounts involved are staggering.”

The FBI has since 2013 gathered reports of more than $10 billion (Sh1 trillion) in losses from US victims alone. The worldwide tally is more than $26 billion (Sh2.6 trillion).

READ ALSO:   Kenyans warn MPs that 2022 election is coming as they mull over Uhuru's 8% VAT proposal

BEC fraud is a new sophisticated type of cyber-enabled crime facilitated by the Internet where fraudsters use hacked email accounts to convince businesses or individuals to make payments that are either bogus or similar to actual payments owed to legitimate companies.

As part of the scam, fraudsters learn about key personnel in companies who are responsible for payments as well as the protocols necessary to perform wire transfers in various companies and then target the businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments.

Interestingly, Kenya and Nigeria were the only African countries on the list of nations where the FBI made arrests and recovered property bought by scammers after a year of investigations. Other countries in the list include Italy, Japan, Malasyia, United Kingdom, France and Turkey.

The big puzzle for the FBI was how Kenya and Nigeria, two African countries with meagre computing skills and resources, had hacked their way into a list of major global cybercrime hotspots.

But with its good Internet speeds, easy availability of cheap computers and a robust banking system driven by technology, it is not difficult to figure out why Kenya has bred such sophisticated criminals.

So entrenched is the vice among Kenyan hackers that the US government now has a special unit whose role is to monitor cybercrime emanating from IP addresses in Kenya.

The American Embassy in Nairobi declined to give us the list of Kenyans who were arrested and extradited to the US to face charges, or the assets repossessed during Operation Re Wired.

Documents filed by the US Department of Justice however indicate that three Kenyans, Robert Mutua Muli, Amil Hassan Raage, and Jeffrey Sila Ndungi, were arrested during the time of the operation.

Between them they had stolen $3,154,118.83 (Sh315.4 million). About half of this money has not been recovered, according to court papers in the US. All the three have been found guilty of their crimes after making plea bargain deals with the courts. Mr Muli is set to be sentenced next month, on October 4, Mr Raage will know his fate on October 11, while Mr Ndungi has already begun his 20-year sentence.

However, among the three it is Mr Muli, a 59-year-old Kenyan immigrant from Ohio, Texas, who had stolen the most; $2,128,133.83 (Sh212 million), followed by Mr Raage, 48, who was picked by FBI detectives from Nairobi on May 9 this year with $949,393.14 (Sh94 million) in his bank accounts.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Perhaps eager to talk to God alone, Uhuru stuns churchgoers after attending mass without security

Mr Ndungi, 33, who was in April last year sentenced to 20 years in prison, had only managed to steal $76,592.86 (Sh7.6 million) before FBI detectives lured him to fly to a trap in Dallas, Texas from Nairobi. He was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport as the plane he had boarded sat on the tarmac waiting for clearance to fly to London, where he would have connected to Nairobi.

Before the US theft, it appears that the 2010 University of Nairobi engineering graduate had not only honed his skills by hacking and selling DStv bouquets in Kenya and Nigeria from his house in South B, Nairobi, but also made tonnes of money while at it. So lucrative was this venture that by the age of 26, just two years after graduating, Mr Ndungi had bought two Cessna planes with the tail numbers 5Y-CCN and 5Y-CCO.

In 2013 he leased one of the planes to Nairobi Flight Training Limited. Apart from that he also owned a top-of-the-range Escalade and a Range Rover Sport, which the US repossessed after he was arrested. He also had a house at Executive Suites Estate in South B.

During his trial, it emerged that Mr Ndungi had filed fake tax return requests amounting to $116,000 (Sh11 million) using the names of a person who had died — Mrs Cynthia Short — by pretending she was still alive and based in Nairobi.

“These returns used social security numbers belonging to deceased individuals and attached fictitious forms reporting substantial wages. However, many of the addresses and bank accounts receiving fraudulent tax refunds are located in the US,” say court papers.

As Mr Ndungi was being sent to prison to start his term, detectives had on their sights two other Kenyans, Mr Muli and Mr Raage, who had apparently tricked their victims to think they were receiving emails from Dell Computers.

Apart from defrauding the Fairfax County government by tricking them that they were sending payments for computers to Dell, Mr Muli also conned Vermont County government of $13,684.63 (Sh1.3 million) and the Detroit County government of $769,226 (Sh79 million). In these deals, he tricked his victims by pretending to be other companies other than Dell Computers, but the mode of operation was similar to what he had used on Fairfax County.

In papers filed before court, Mr Muli is said to have opened a business checking account at Wells Fargo Bank in the name of Rogram Home Improvement Ltd on February 22, 2018. In the application to open the account, he said he was the sole owner of Rogram.

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Between May and July 2018, The City of Detroit entered into a sales agreement with another firm named Aecom Great Lakes Limited to meet the sales needs of the city.

“On May 14, 2018 a co-conspirator of Mr Muli sent an email to the City of Detroit from an email falsely claiming to be an Aecom Great Lakes employee, directing the city of Detroit’s office of Contracting and Procurement to change the Aecom Great Lakes bank of records to Wells Fargo and directing payments to a second account which was at all times controlled by Mr Muli. The email account name matched the name of a former Aecom employee,” say court papers.

On May 25, 2018, the City of Detroit made a $69,464 deposit to the new account, and on June 1 a second payment of $699,802 was made to the account.

On May 25, which was the same day that $69,464 hit the fake account that the City of Detroit thought belonged to Aecom, $49,990 was transferred to Rogram Home Improvement. Then, 11 days later, on June 6, $74,527 and $39,990 were transferred to Mr Muli’s personal account, which was then wired to Kenya. Most of this cash was recovered, but the City of Detroit lost $130,154 in the scam.

As he was busy defrauding the City of Detroit, Mr Muli was also engaged in a similar fraud targeting the State of Vermont, this time by faking he was yet again a Dell employee. Like Mr Ndungi before him, Mr Muli was arrested in Texas as he attempted to flee to Kenya.

Mr Raage, however, managed to escape to Nairobi on September 22 last year after his bank accounts were frozen, but was arrested eight months later, on May 8, by the FBI. He was extradited to the US on May 23 to face justice.

Before being smoked out, Mr Raage had defrauded the University of California, San Diego of $749,158 (Sh75 million) and Pennsylvania University of $123,643 (Sh12 million) by tricking them to make payments they believed were going to Dell Computers.

So perplexed was the US Justice Department on the arrest of Mr Raage that Attorney Robert Brewer would later say that “modern criminals like Raage have ditched the ski mask and getaway vehicle and opted for a computer as their weapon of choice.”

-nation.co.ke

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Kinuthia, shrewd lad who conned his way to Rwandan jail

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In his colourful LinkedIn profile, Charles Kinuthia, the Kenyan man who was this week convicted by a Kigali court of fleecing Rwandans, describes himself as an “accomplished and distinguished” chief executive officer of a “new national franchise company”, an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, leadership trainer, educator and mentor.

Kinuthia further says that he was recently honoured with a PhD in the humanities, without mentioning the awarding institution. Besides hopping from one job to another, he offers sketchy details on how he has made his great fortune. Asked about what he does specifically, Kinuthia has previously said that he owns a software company “and several other companies here and there that we run around the world”, without divulging details.

But even more spectacular is how, in 10 short years, Kinuthia transitioned from a jobless immigrant to a globe-trotting trainer, who gives talks to entrepreneurs on wealth fitness.

As though that were not incredible enough, he belongs to the same club as Jeff Balagna, CEO of Team Car Care, who owns retail, technology, hospitality and healthcare service companies, among other globally acclaimed entrepreneurs.

Kinuthia claims that one doesn’t have to have gone to school to be able to work the complex mathematics involved in accounting and tax business.

“You just need to get people who are smarter than you and have them do the job for you,” he told K24 TV two years ago.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Surprise as Raila's brother, Oburu Odinga and cousin Jakoyo Midiwo lose in ODM primaries

 “I was born and raised in Kenya, and spent a significant part of my life in Australia,” his profile reads. Kinuthia also claims to have lived “temporarily” in Finland, where he won a full scholarship to the University of Helsinki to study for his Bachelor’s degree in business management.

The highlight of his high-flying career, according to the profile, is his company, One Stop Tax Services Inc, a “national income tax preparation franchise”, which he founded in 2006 after his relocation to Texas from Australia.

That’s not all. Kinuthia says he is the chairperson of Montgomery-based Lone Star College Business Management Advisory Board, which is “one of the largest and fastest growing community colleges in Texas”.

It’s not by accident that he employs superlatives and other catchy phrases to describe himself and his achievements. Kinuthia is as crafty as he is street-smart, which perhaps explains why he has been invited to many talk shows on TV locally and abroad.

His life, though, has not always been on the fast lane. Kinuthia and his siblings grew up in poverty in Nakuru County, with a jobless mother and an absentee father. He studied at Utumishi High School, where he performed dismally in the Form Four examination, following many days spent out of the classroom.

READ ALSO:   Matiangi orders the closure of all bars in the country for two days and Kenyans react

It is from these thin fortunes that his aggressiveness was nurtured, he says. Determined to advance his education, he applied for a scholarship at the University of Helsinki. Thankfully, he was invited for an interview.

Kinuthia passed his admission exam and got a placement. That was taken care of. But he would soon come face to face with the tough reality of being jobless in a foreign country and without anyone to turn to.

“I befriended a Ghanaian guy who allowed me to sleep on the floor of his living room for weeks as I looked for a job. I was lucky to be employed as a cleaner in restrooms at restaurants, bars and banks,” he narrated to a local TV station.

Before his return to Kenya in 2017, Kinuthia had spent 14 years outside the country as he sought to liberate his family out of poverty. Today, his entire family has relocated to the US, thanks to him. Ironically, Kinuthia was the black sheep of his family, which he has admitted on the record.

His pie started to crumble when he organised a highly publicised wealth conference in Kigali in May. Thousands of young Rwandans flocked the Kigali Convention Centre, lured by the Sh20,000 that was promised as an incentive for attending.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Did Uhuru get a brain freeze while taking his oath?

There was a twist though. The Sh20,000 that had been promised would not be in cash, as implied, but in terms of value for attendance.

Owing to the huge number of delegates, the police cancelled the event for security reasons. The participants sued the organisers for scamming them.

This week, a Kigali court found Kinuthia guilty of swindling Rwandans of money in fees (Sh500) for the event that never took place, sentencing him to two years in jail with a fine of Sh325,000.

His three accomplices — two Kenyan women and a Rwandan man — were, however, acquitted.

But is it practical to train people to be wealthy? Kinuthia believes it is.

“There is a lot of information out there, it’s what you do with the information that matters,” he told Citizen TV last year, noting, that most people are ‘‘not ready to pay the price to be successful.

On the legacy he wants to leave behind, Kinuthia hopes ‘‘to inspire, ignite and impact’’ people’s lives. For now though, that will be put on ice as he serves his jail term in Rwanda. His lawyer Evode Kayitana is petitioning the Kenyan government to intervene and rescue his client.

by nation.co.ke

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Fury after Uhuru’s NLC nominee Esther Murugi reveals she’s worth Sh400m

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A National Land Commission (NLC) nominee has found herself in the hot seat after she revealed her worth during vetting by Members of Parliament.

Former Nyeri Member of Parliament Esther Murugi was left to bear the wrath of broke and jobless graduates after saying that she is worth close to Sh400 million.

In addition to that, she said that she will be the ideal candidate for the job because she has 10 years’ experience in real estate and has also been a member of the committee when she was an MP.

Ms Murugi has been nominated by President Uhuru Kenyatta as a member of the land commission.

“I am worth close to KSh400M. I am a UoN graduate. I have over 10 years’ experience in real estate; currently a director of a real estate company. I have been a member of this committee when I was MP. I served the people of Nyeri for two terms,” said Ms Murugi.

WEALTHY PERSON

Kenyans on Twitter could not understand how a wealthy person like her would compete for a job when there are hundreds of unemployed graduates who could benefit from the opportunity.

“Then go and eat your 400 million in peace,” retorted @HonOngoya.

“A millionaire looking for a job but a broke graduate should be an entrepreneur,” wrote @sammykg.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Kalonzo shocks Raila after saying Uhuru should rule for two and a half years

“Kenya for us…young people should be given opportunity to serve in this top jobs!” commented @Njerikirichu.

“Trying to understand. These people tell fresh graduates who have no experience or capital to not rely on employment and forge their own paths. Then the people worth hundreds of millions and experience get the jobs. Mental gymnastics should be an Olympic sport because phew,” tweeted @NotionDaily.

GRANDCHILDREN

“Cucu, with 400M worth, surely you shouldn’t you be thinking of creating job opportunities for your children and grandchildren, not chasing after a government job?” asked @muchindo1.

“She at least has had time to serve the country, she shouldn’t be given the chance again,” stated @bulima_lydia.

“What did she say? Worth how much? Na bado anataka kazi!!!! Kueni serious!!” replied @OchicargoValdez.

“Why do you need this job instead of retiring peacefully? I doubt you have extra ordinary knowledge and skills to make you get employed at this age. The greatest undoing in our political class is recycling, recycling, recycling, recycling,” said @Kimotho05.

The NLC vetting of the nominees by the National Assembly started on September 19, 2019. The nine commissioners to pass the selection will serve for a non-renewable, six-year term. The tenure of the pioneer commissioners under the new constitution ended in February this year.

READ ALSO:   Kenyans warn MPs that 2022 election is coming as they mull over Uhuru's 8% VAT proposal

By Nairobi News

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