The man behind the usage of fake M-Pesa accounts to demand money from Members of the National Assembly and other VIPs has been arrested in Tanzania.
A joint operation between Tanzania and Kenya police arrested Wazir Benson Masubo Chacha in Tarime where he has been hiding for more than two weeks.
Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti said Chacha was being escorted to Nairobi where he will face multiple charges.
He said Chacha was arrested Sunday while headed to the Democratic Republic of Congo following a week-long intelligence collection and planning involving Kenya and Tanzanian detectives.
“He will be in Nairobi to face various charges. He was arrested as he tried to sneak to DRC from Tanzania,” said Kinoti.
Police had visited his Kuria rural home and several places Chacha frequented in vain.
He is a former employee at devolution ministry and was a friend to a former Member of Parliament where he got most of the MPs’ contacts.
Police were looking for Mr Chacha, 25 for questioning over registration of fake M-Pesa account using Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege.
Kinoti said Chacha has been linked to four other cases of fraud and want him to surrender himself for questioning.
“He used an ID number of a former MP to register an MPesa account in the name of Sabina Wanjiku Chege. He did this in Donholm and we have all the details,” said Kinoti.
Officials handling the matter have also arrested an attendant who registered the number in Donholm.
Catherine Nyaboke Omwene was charged with five counts of conspiracy to defraud Ms Chege, denied the accusations and was released on Sh100,000 cash bail.
After Chacha had registered the number to indicate it belonged to MP Chege he sent distress messages in her name to a number of VIPs to raise funds. The messages showed Ms Chege was in hospital and needs money to help her.
At least four MPs including Speaker of National Assembly Justin Muturi sent money to the number thinking it was Chege who was in need.
Ms Chege recounted before the National Assembly Committee on Security and National Administration how the man impersonated her and sent messages to three CSs and legislators at night saying she needed cash urgently.
“Those who sent the money saw that the M-Pesa number had been registered under Sabina Wanjiku Chege. That is why they did not suspect anything. It wasn't until former MP Jakoyo Midiwo asked me about it the following day that I learnt of it. Many other people had been sent the same message,” Ms Chege said.
Midiwo and three other MPs have also reported the matter to the police.
Speaker Muturi, CSs Eugene Wamalwa, Peter Munya and Margaret Kobia and unknown senators have fallen victim to the racket and sent money. The committee heard that Mr Muturi lost Sh30,000 after the same man sent a distress message supposedly in need of help to buy medication.
Former Migori Senator Wilfred Machage is said to have deposited Sh140,000 to Chacha’s account but it is not clear for what reasons
It also emerged that Chacha sent two students of Multimedia University to collect Sh100,000 from Midiwo after he demanded more of the more pretending to be Ms Chege.
The two students include a nephew to the former MP. They wer charged with attempting to obtain money from the politician by false pretences.
Derick Ng’etich and Edwin Warukira were accused of fraudulently obtaining money from the former Gem MP and Ms Chege on March 8 at Goldenspot Restaurant in Nairobi.
They are accused of obtaining Sh100, 000 from the two legislators.
Ng’etich, 19 told police Chacha called him that day and requested that he goes and picks the money from Midiwo from the restaurant. The student had met Chacha in the former MP’s house and they knew each other.
“The boy says Chacha told him he was unwell in hospital and needed the money to enable him pay the bills. The boy told him he was in Rongai and Chacha sent him fare and direction to the restaurant to enable him pick the money.”
It was as Ng’etich and his friend Warukira went to pick the money from the former MP that they were arrested by police who had been informed.
And after Chacha learnt police were involved he switched off his mobile phones.