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Police unearth fraudsters milking dormant bank accounts

 

ATMs in a bank. [Getty Images]

Sometime in November last year, Kenneth Bett Kipkoech was charged with impersonation before Milimani Chief Magistrate Lucas Onyina.

Bett was alleged to have presented himself as a legitimate holder of a bank account, seeking to have a debit card.

He denied the charges and was released on bond.

A month later, Harrison Mwaura Njoroge, Simon Sirere Seno, Nicholas Mwangi Karagu and Barack Ochieng Aluoch were also charged alongside Bett.

The first count was engaging in organised crime, contrary to Section 3 (c) as read with Section 4(1) of the Prevention of Organised Crimes Act.   

The charge read that between August 22, 2023, and September 6, 2023, the six conspired to commit a crime, namely, stealing to obtain financial benefits from different branches of a local bank. 

All six denied the charges.

However, their case is a blockbuster, with security agencies claiming that Bett’s arrest and investigations by the Bank Fraud Investigations Unit unearthed an alleged syndicate that is milking dry dormant bank accounts.

In the case, the alleged victim, Kelvin Kamunyo, is listed as the star witness.

The six suspects are accused of illegally obtaining Kamunyo's bank details, impersonating him, applying for a debit card and finally getting his money. 

The Director of Public Prosecutions Renson Ingonga approved a total 11 counts. They include stealing Sh2.5 million from a bank account belonging to Kamunyo.

Bett is said to have been the first suspect to be arrested. The police claimed that what gave him away was failure to answer questions relating to the account.

He faces three other separate counts of impersonation, forgery and uttering false documents.

It was alleged that on August 21, 2023, Bett falsely presented himself as Kamunyo in another branch at Naivasha where he sought for customer account statement.

According to the particulars of the charges, the State further claimed that on the same day, he presented himself at another branch in Olkalau, Nakuru County, and applied for a debit card in the name of Kamunyo.

Further, he is accused of falsely uttering a request form of Kamunyo’s account and falsely applying for a debit card. 

All this time, the State claimed that Bett was presenting himself as Kamunyo to the bank tellers.

The police indicated that it was Bett’s arrest that gave away Mwaura and the others.

From the charges, Mwaura is at the heart of everything as the State claims that he got the information from an insider. That is why Sirere, a bank employee, was charged with unlawful disclosure of personal data.

The case will be mentioned on March 18 before Milimani Magistrate Wandia Nyamu.

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