Last week Sabina Chege, the Murang’a Woman Representative shocked Kenyans when she gave an emotional narration on the floor of the House of how her personal details were being used to extort money from members of parliament through M-Pesa.
The police have now revealed the identity of the man behind the M-Pesa con scheme as 25-year-old Wazir Benson Masubo Chacha, a former Ministry of Devolution employee.
Chacha is accused of using fake MPesa accounts to demand money from Members of Assembly and other VIPs. He is believed to be a friend to a former Member of Parliament (MP) where he got most of the MPs’ contacts.
Our sister publication, The Nairobian, did a story on February 9, 2018, about Chacha who openly revealed a love relationship with former Bomet County Woman Representative, Dr Cecilia Ng’etich.
He claims he fell in love with 54-year old ex-MP Ng’etich only to be left bruised, cold and lonely on Valentine’s Day.
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“She dumped me on Valentine’s Day. I was to accompany her to South Africa on that day, only for her to tell me that the relationship was over,” he says.
Police are now looking for Mr Chacha, for questioning over registration of a fake MPesa account using the details of Sabina Chege.
The suspect has gone into hiding
Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) George Kinoti said Chacha has been linked to four other cases of fraud and they 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.
Kinoti revealed that police have in the last week been trying to get Chacha but it has been in vain. Instead, he has switched off his five mobile phones and gone into hiding. Kinoti has made an appeal to Chacha to surrender to police for processing.
Officials handling the matter have also arrested an attendant who registered the number in Donholm. She is expected to formally take a plea on Monday 26 March, 2018.
Standard Digital reached out to Chacha for comment but his phone is switched off.
Kinoti said the issue is being given the needed attention and that efforts to get Chacha are ongoing.
False claims that Sabina Chege is in hospital
It is alleged that after Chacha had registered the number to indicate it belonged to Chege, he sent distress messages in her name to a number of VIPs seeking funds. The messages claimed that Sabina was in hospital and needs money urgently.
At least four MPs including Speaker of National Assembly Justin Muturi sent money to the number thinking it was Chege who was in need.
Chege emotionally recounted before the National Assembly Committee on Security and National Administration how the man impersonated her and sent messages to three Cabinet Secretaries 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.
Those who sent money to the number registered under Sabina Chege
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 information. The two students include a nephew to the former MP. They were 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.
The two denied the charges before chief magistrate Francis Andayi and requested for a free bond, claiming both are students.
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. Come Monday, he was sighted in Ruiru but again vanished and police say they are looking for him.