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Victims of Sh4 billion fraud in court to demand refund from Government

COUNTIES
By Isaiah Lucheli | March 10th 2015

Kenya: Individuals who lost more than Sh4 billion in pyramid schemes almost a decade ago have moved to court seeking to have the Government compelled to refund their money.

The 26,249 victims of the fraud want the Government forced to refund  Sh4,152,008,342, which they lost in 2006, arguing that the Government had closed the pyramid entities' accounts and taken over Sh8 billion belonging to them.

Through the National Pyramid Scheme Victims Initiative, the victims argued that they lost the money through payments to outfits that were registered by Government but had been custom-made for the purpose of committing fraud.

In sworn court documents, the chairman of the group, Samuel Kariuki said when the scam was unearthed in 2006, the Government ordered all the funds in accounts belonging to the pyramid outfits transferred to the Central Bank of Kenya.

He noted that one of the reports prepared in 2009 on behalf of the Government had put the amount remitted to the Central Bank at Sh8.5 billion.

They argued that failure by the Government to refund the money eight years after transferring it to the Central Bank was a violation of the victims' right to property.

They want the Government compelled to refund the money they lost, arguing that it had a constitutional duty to protect them from the fraudsters who swindled their money.

"For the past four years, we have made efforts to approach Government officials in an effort to find out why our money, which was transferred to the Central Bank, had not been refunded to the victims of the scam," submitted the chairman.

They added that the financial losses they have suffered had impacted negatively on them and their families which had led to marital strife and break-ups.

Through their lawyer Wanyiri Kihoro, the victims of the scam said the organisations that swindled them masqueraded as savings societies, welfare associations, foundations and micro-finance institutions.

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