A serial fraudster is in custody after defrauding a Nairobi-based businessman Sh11 million.
Martin Shiamia Matchel who has several cases of fraud pending in various courts, is said to have swindled a man only identified as Mohamed under the guise of a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) agent.
In a statement, DCI director George Kinoti said that Matchel approached the victim in December 2021 and offered to introduce him to the U.N supplies system, where upon successful assimilation he would be paid top dollar for supply of high grade goods and services.
“He posed as an agent of top decision makers in the U.N system and boasted of knowing his way around the corridors of U.N Nairobi offices, in Gigiri.
“To demonstrate his proficiency, he intimated to Mohamed that he was aware of a lucrative tender that was to be issued by the UNHCR to supply first grade Rice and he therefore asked him to submit his business profile to an email address purportedly belonging to the UNHCR and wait for the agency’s response,” said Kinoti.
SERIAL FRAUDSTER POSING AS U.N AGENT CHARGED IN COURT
A Nairobi based businessman lost Sh 11 million to conmen posing as agents of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, (UNHCR) in yet another serious case of high level fraud being investigated by our detectives pic.twitter.com/EaEfhgcoh1
— DCI KENYA (@DCI_Kenya) April 27, 2022
On December 13, the accused person is said to have approached Mohamed to supply 1,680 bags of grade one rice in the shortest time possible.
The rice, Matchel informed Mohamed was meant for relief distribution to hunger stricken refugees at a camp in South Sudan, known as the Nile camp.
“Since the whole consignment could not be secured in the country expeditiously, Matchel proposed to Mohamed that they import the product at a cheaper price from Tanzania. The trader dispatched his son to accompany Matchel to Arusha on December 18, and the following day, the two returned to Nairobi with samples of the rice which would be presented to purported quality assurance officers at the UNHCR for inspection,” continued Kinoti.
The accused then informed the businessman that the samples had been accepted and it was a go on the lucrative deal.
Between December 23 and 27, Mohamed transferred a total of Sh11 million from his Equity bank account to an account belonging to Yazeed Rice Company, in Tanzania.
Then came an alleged Inspection Officer from the UNCHR identified as Peris Nyawira who confirmed that the packaging in Arusha was going well.
The consignment was packed in three trailers from the company’s godown in Kahama.
“Each lorry carried 560 bags of rice. Nyawira then requested for delivery and invoices from Mohammed via email, received the goods formally by stamping on the documents with fake UNHCR stamps and declared the goods to be safely in the hands of a UNHCR logistics officer, who would ensure the consignment reaches South Sudan.”
Mohamed informed detectives that he was asked to wait for payment for a month. It was on February 6, 2022 that he found out that the supposed U.N deal was a hoax.
Matchel and his co-conspirators, Mohamed later learnt, had diverted the consignment to a godown in Kasarani, Nairobi. Here, rice sellers were purchasing the commodity at a throw away price of Sh75.
“So much was the demand for the cheap top grade rice, that some traders in the city saw a serious business opportunity and telephoned Yazeed Rice Company in Tanzania, asking whether ‘kuna ingine’,” continued Kinoti.
Calls to Matchel, Mohamed intimated, went unanswered and was later blocked. His trip to the U.N offices in Gigiri confirmed his worst fears. The documents given to him by Matchel were fake.
On February 8, Mohamed reported the matter at DCI offices leading to Matchel’s arrest on Sunday at the Namanga border point, as he was attempting to cross over to Tanzania to defraud yet another businessman.
Matchel was arraigned at the Kiambu Law Courts on Tuesday where he pleaded not guilty to four charges of conspiracy to defraud, stealing by agent, obtaining good by false pretenses and forgery of UNHCR documents.