A middle-aged man linked to a series of online scams has been arrested by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
Justin Mwirigi Murungi is alleged to have conned a number of unsuspecting members of the public through a non-existing online gas cylinder shop.
The suspect was traced and nabbed by detectives in Thika, Kiambu County, after a number of Kenyans launched complaints about his dubious dealings.
In one such instance, DCI detailed on Tuesday how Robert Isiche Mzee, a resident of Langata, unknowingly found himself in the grasp of the serial fraudster.
Mzee, through hard work and grit had made some profits and was brainstorming on the best business to invest his hard-earned money. After much deliberations, he settled on setting up a gas vending business within Kamulu area.
According to the DCI, Mzee was in November last year shopping online for a place to source the cylinders when he came across a Facebook page advertising the exact business.
Apparently, the page which goes by the name Heritage Gas Wholesalers had information detailing the business as dealing with gas cylinders, with several brands of cooking gas displayed.
“The page also had a contact number and the contact person’s name given as Kelvin Mwangi. After satisfactorily double-checking the page, Mzee dialed the number and made inquiries where he was assured of the availability of the gas cylinders and that the company would deliver from their warehouse located along Lumumba road, Makupa in Mombasa County,” DCI said.
Contented with the assurance by the fraudster, the would-be victim went ahead and placed an order of 60 gas cylinders at a total cost of Ksh354,000.
The fraudster thereafter sent a quotation and requested him to pay a commitment fee of Ksh118,000 shillings for the processing to be fast-tracked. After brief negotiations, he accepted to waive the commitment fee to Ksh100,000 since Mzee was going to purchase the products in bulk.
The agreement was sealed, despite the fact that Mzee had no clue of who was behind the Facebook page or how he looked like.
On December 3, 2021, Mzee transferred Ksh100,000 via M-Pesa mobile money transfer to the con’s number.
He was to be paid the rest of the money upon delivery of the cylinders. A day and another passed by without Mzee receiving the products as earlier agreed, prompting him to read malice. Upon making calls, the scammer started giving flimsy excuses as to why the cylinders had not been delivered.
He eventually failed to pick Mzee’s calls and later resorted to blocking Him completely.
Realizing that he had been duped, the complainant made a report at Lang’ata Police station.
“Detectives from DCI Lang’ata, augmented by sleuths drawn from the Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau-CRIB, applied detailed forensic analysis at the DCI National Forensic Laboratory and traced Justin Mwirigi Murungi who was immediately arrested within Thika Township,” said DCI.
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A copy of a national ID card with the name of Kelvin Brian Mwangi was also recovered from the suspect.
The suspect was arraigned in court on Monday.
He is facing multiple charges among them Conspiracy to defraud, obtaining money by false pretense and Being in unlawful possession of and unlawfully making use of the identification contrary to section 14(f) of Registration of persons Act Cap 107 Laws of Kenya.
DCI has urged other Kenyans who have been conned by the suspect to visit DCI Langata and file their complaints.