5 charged with trying to steal Sh2m wares from Hotpoint

From left alleged coupls Damaris Njeri Kamau alias Purity and Jimmy Muthengi Nzila alias Makaveli together with their aid Veronica Wanjiru Mwangi alias Monica, Felix Ndisya Nzila and Gitau Mbiri in court where they were charged with swindling Hotpoint Appliances goods worth over sh. 2 million. [Photo: Courtesy]

A witness yesterday narrated to the court how a man and a woman walked into a Hotpoint shop and duped the sales team into releasing home appliances worth over Sh2 million.

Natalia Mwambua, who works at Hotpoint Appliances Limited in Nyali, yesterday told Chief Magistrate Julius Nang’ea that the two duped them into supplying home appliances worth Sh714,436. The two tried to fraudulently obtain electronics worth Sh1,314,190 a week later.

Ms Mwambua said Jimmy Muthengi Nzila alias Makaveli and Damaris Njeri Kamau alias Samantha or Purity walked into the store and introduced themselves as a married couple that wanted to furnish an apartment in Mtwapa.

Attempted fraud

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The two are charged alongside Veronica Wanjiru Mwangi alias Monica, Felix Ndisya Nzila and Gitau Mbiri with attempting to defraud the appliance shop’s Likoni branch.

They were charged with attempting to obtain goods by false pretence on diverse dates between August 14 and 30, 2017 at Hotpoint Nyali and Likoni.

Muthengi is also facing the charge of presenting a fake bankers cheque deposit slip worth Sh714,436 in an attempt to defraud and obtain goods from Hotpoint Appliances.

Kamau, Mwangi , Nzila and Mbiri face the charge of presenting a fake bankers cheque to defraud Hotpoint of electronics goods worth Sh1,314,190.

 Mwambua told the court that on the August 15, 2017, a man named Felix went to the store and purchased a microwave and a dispenser.

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“The next day Felix came with a man called Jimmy and a lady who Jimmy introduced as his wife. They said they were looking to open an apartment and wanted to furnish it with home appliances,” said Mwambua.

She said that after taking them around the store, they placed an order for three pairs of each item they had selected. They then told her to send them a quotation later through the email address, [email protected]

The ‘couple’ said it intended to buy three sets of 49 inch Samsung TV, three fridges, three washing machines and other minor home appliances.

“They then placed an order of the selected items that amounted to Sh714,436 and directed me to send them a quotation,” said Mwambua.

The court heard that on August 18, 2017, the ‘couple’ communicated, requesting bank details so that they could pay before picking up the items.

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Mwambua sent them the store’s bank account.

The sales woman said Jimmy later went to the shop with a banker’s cheque that exceeded the payable amount by Sh99 which she gave to the cashier.

Mwambua said that minutes after she received the cheque, Purity called, requesting that the shop release at least one of the selected items because she was expecting visitors and the house was empty.

The sales lady said after discussions with her branch manager, Sandra Seela Sirere, they decided to release the items as requested by Purity, three days before the maturity of the cheque that the couple had purported to have deposited. 

The remaining items were to be delivered to an address that Jimmy gave them.

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“We released a TV set, a washing machine, a fridge, three kettles, three coffee makers and other small appliances they had selected,” said Mwambura.

She said that Jimmy left after handing her the cheque and later sent a transporter by the name Ndoto, who picked up the items and signed for them.

Mwambua told the court that Jimmy told them he could secure his own transport, including the manpower to fix the washing machine and TV after the store said it had none.

She said that on August 24, 2017, the store delivered the remaining items from the Nairobi branch to an address in Mtwapa as directed by Jimmy.

The remaining goods were also delivered before the deposited cheque could mature.

“Our driver brought the goods from our Nairobi store and delivered them in Mtwapa on August 24, 2017, to an address given to us by Jimmy and signed a delivery note,” said Mwambua.

Phone contact

She said the store tried to contact Jimmy the next day to instal the appliances but his and Purity’s phone went unanswered.

They later received an email from the account’s office notifying them that the cheque deposited by the ‘couple’ had bounced and that there was no money in the account.

At the address at Mtwapa where the items had been delivered, they were informed that the people who had been living there had moved the goods the same day they were delivered.

Ndoto was tracked down in Bamburi and he said Jimmy had instructed him to deliver the items to Petro.

Mwambua told the court that a week later, the suspects made a similar attempt at the shop’s Likoni branch, where they posed as buyers looking for home appliances worth Sh1 million.

Mwambua said the cashier at Likoni called and notified them of the suspicious couple.

“So we sent one of our colleagues and she was able to identify Purity at the store together with Jimmy,” said Mwambua.

The suspects were later arrested, but the appliances and the money have yet to be recovered.

sales teamNatalia MwambuaHotpoint Appliances LimitedChief Magistrate Julius Nang’eaFraud