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Nigerian men arrested, charged over internet love scam

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Two Nigerian men believed to be members of an internet love scam syndicate were charged in Singapore on Tuesday with recruiting local women to collect money for them, police said.

Such scams, where victims part with cash after a fraudster feigns romantic interest in them, are a growing concern in the city-state with police reporting 660 cases last year.

MONEY MULES

The Nigerians — identified in local news reports as Oladayo Opeyemi Awolola, 34, and Gbolahan Ayobami Awolola, 37 — were arrested by Malaysian authorities in Kuala Lumpur last month and sent to Singapore on Monday.

The men allegedly recruited two Singaporean women “as money mules to receive criminal proceeds linked to internet love scams in Singapore” between 2017 and 2018, according to a police statement.

The women received Sg$85,700 ($63,000) during that period and turned the money over to syndicate members in Malaysia, police said.
The Nigerians could be jailed for up to five years each and fined if convicted.

FRAUDSTERS

It is the first time that suspects based overseas and involved in internet love scams have been arrested and sent to Singapore for prosecution, police said.

Most of the internet love scams reported last year in the city-state involved fraudsters claiming to have sent parcels containing luxury items or money.

Their local accomplices would call the “recipients” and claim the parcels were being held by the authorities for inspection, and would only be released if they transferred money to a bank account.

-nation.co.ke

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US official urges patience on Kenya graft cases

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A top US law enforcement urged frustrated Kenyans on Thursday to “be a little bit patient” concerning the outcome of corruption cases.

“Anti-corruption investigations are particularly complex,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Heather Merritt said in a press briefing.

“They tend to involve multiple jurisdictions because often corrupt officials are able to move assets amongst various jurisdictions both within your country and internationally,” Ms Merritt added.

She was speaking in response to a reporter’s question about the paucity of corruption convictions in Kenya.

Ms Merritt, who heads the State Department’s bureau of international narcotics and law enforcement, also cited US efforts to strengthen Kenya’s police service and to develop programmes intended to curb impunity.

She noted that she had co-chaired discussions on security and democracy as part of the recent US-Kenya Bilateral Strategic Dialogue held in Washington.

The US pledged in that forum to provide “technical and operational assistance” to the internal affairs unit of the Kenya police service as well as to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority.

Ms Merritt emphasised that corruption can most effectively be addressed through strong national institutions that enforce accountability.

“It is all about stopping impunity,” she said. “It’s about society’s demanding accountability, but most of all it’s about developing strong independent institutions that are able to combat corruption across the criminal justice sector.”

The US official rejected arguments that corruption can be eliminated by increasing low salaries paid to law-enforcement personnel in poor countries.

“Adequate salaries are not enough,” Ms Merritt declared. “Even in countries where officials are very well paid, there are sometimes people who fall prey unfortunately to corruption and so we have got to do everything we can to strengthen institutions.”

She pointed to the example of the corruption scandal that shook the world football authority known as Fifa a few years ago.

“It’s not because (former Fifa head) Sepp Blatter was underpaid,” Ms Merritt said. “It’s not because the Fifa commissioners around the world were underpaid that they were susceptible to bribes… They made a decision to engage in corruption.”

The Fifa scandals were exposed because “there were institutions that were able to do investigations to hold accountable those who were involved,” Ms Merritt noted.

She also sounded an alarm about “burgeoning illicit markets” in Africa.

“Wildlife poaching and trafficking represents an escalating international security and conservation crisis,” Ms Merritt warned. “What we are seeing now in many of your countries is coordinated slaughter which was commissioned by armed and organized criminal syndicates.”

source:nation.co.ke

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Kenyans lose millions as Suraya housing project collapses

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A number of Kenyans have found themselves counting losses in millions of shillings after the Suraya projects failed.

This despite the off-plan investment gaining popularity in the country.

Lynx -Royal Estate, a development under the Suraya Properties Limited, is a real estate developer that has now earned itself a bad record.

According to Wairimu Thimba, an investor, the said property was to be completed in 2014, with the payment plan being in instalments.

The final instalment being after the keys were handed over to the investors.

“We have tried reaching out and they can’t answer… I go there and they do not do anything,” said Wairimu.

It was after a series of unanswered emails that forced her together with the other aggrieved investors to visit the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Thursday to record their statements as well as pay a visit to the Suraya properties offices to at least have the matter sorted. But all that was in vain.

Skyrocketing housing prices and unpredictable rent regimes have witnessed emergence of ‘smart’ investors in Nairobi who buy apartments off-plan at discounted prices, where one gets to investment or buys the property before it is completed.

It is a risk which despite offering flexible mode of payments, and an opportunity for an investor to own property at an affordable rate.

Sometimes the developer might halt the project which according to Beatrice Wachuka, research analyst at the Cytonn Investments, should be a cause for alarm for any investor.

“You have to keep on visiting the sites to know, most times when it stops it is because, there is disagreement between contractors, or lack of capital,” said Wachuka.

“I feel they started these projects and then another without channeling our money where it was meant to build, it was just greed,” lamented Wairimu.

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Samburu governor free to travel to US

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An Anti-Corruption Court has allowed Samburu Governor Moses Kasaine Lenolkulal, who is facing a Sh84 million corruption charge, to travel to the United States for one week.

Governor Lenolkulal was on Friday given his passport for the trip that will see him attend a Masters class programme.

The prosecution protested, saying the county chief was evading justice and seeking to extend his trial, but Senior Principal Magistrate Felix Kombo said he did not make the request in bad faith.

The magistrate, however, asked Mr Lenolkulal to return the passport within 48 hours of returning to the country.

“Education is an important activity and this court should not stop it. I find no reason [to conclude that the] accused is attempting to prolong his trial,” he said.

“The court is hereby pleased to order release of the governor’s passport for a limited period to enable him travel to the US from June 3 to June 10.”

Since a pre-trial conference will be held on June 5, the magistrate asked Mr Lenolkulal’s lawyers to ensure they represent him.

The governor was also ordered to avail a surety for the period he will be out of the court’s jurisdiction as well as a guarantee that he will attend the trial.

Mr Lenolkulal is pursuing an international module at New York University. His lawyers noted it is crucial to the fulfilment of the requirements for his Masters programme.

The governor was charged in April and released on the highest-ever cash bail of Sh 100 million, with alternative of Sh150 million bond with a surety of the same amount.

His challenge at the High Court saw the figure reduced to Sh 10 million.

The court also asked the director of the Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis) to deny Mr Lenolkulal and 13 other county officials access in order to safeguard public funds.

They were all charged with conspiring to commit corruption, leading to the unlawful payment of Sh 84,695,996 to Mr Lenolkulal through a petrol station known as Oryx Service Station.

The offense was allegedly committed between March 27, 2013 and March 25, 2019 in Maralal town.

Mr Lenolkulal was also charged with unlawful acquisition of Sh84.6 million from the county as well as abuse office by allegedly conferring a benefit to himself through paying his company the said monies.

The matter of conflict of interest came up as he was also accused of knowingly acquiring direct private interest by supplying fuel to the county through his petrol station.

source:nation.co.ke

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