Man narrates how he was almost conned of Sh18 million inside a bank

By Standard Reporter | Wednesday, Mar 20th 2019 at 12:37
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Karani Mutonga, a solar panel dealer in Nairobi, has narrated how he was almost conned of Sh18 million last month inside a bank.

He further reveals that the unscrupulous businessmen had explained to him how they would transfer money to his account once he supplied solar equipment but saw a red flag when they mentioned selling diamonds.

In the wake of this fake money and Barclays Bank, it has now become clear that some conmen wanted to con me in the pretext of a good business deal.

I got a call from a prospective referral namely Wangui who had a client who needed solar in South Sudan. That was four weeks ago. She gave me the number of the prospective client, Alice and I called her. I promised Wangui a commission if the sale is successful.

We met with Alice a week after and she explains the nature of the contract. She said she used to work with the UN but quit in order to do business. Actually her Truecaller indicated Alicia United Nations. She explains that there's a South Sudan client interested.

As we were having business lunch with Alice, she requested I allow her to call in her associate in the negotiations which I did. His name was Mutuku. We agreed on the best price of solar to be delivered at a warehouse in Wilson Airport.

On that best price, they asked me to add 10k on each item as their commission. I agreed since prices were within the market price. The contract sum was Sh18 million. Their commission was Sh3 million. So the price I should present to the South Sudan client would be Sh18m.

A week later, I got a call from Alice saying the client is in the country. We agreed to meet the following day together with Mutuku early before we met the client. In the afternoon we met the client, introduced as Frumence.

I gave her the quotation and she complains it's too high. I told her Alice and Mutuku already negotiated and that's the best. She agrees but will first purchase 100 pieces worth Sh6 million. What happened next disorganized everything.

Frumence, the client doesn't have cash. Instead, she has 100-carat diamond which is Sh10.5 million underworld value but she quotes the price as Sh7 million. Mutuku says he had organised a buyer. He texted me saying I agree because we can sell at Sh10.5 Million and make 3.5m on top of sales.

At that poin,t I'm no longer keen on the deal. I was already getting suspicious. I told them to sell diamonds and deposit money in my account and I will supply solar. They said we meet the following day they sell to a buyer who had agreed to buy.

We agreed to meet the following day. They said that the diamond buyers agreed we meet inside their bank which we shared and they will withdraw and give me to deposit. 'Why not transfer?' I ask. They said gemstones are dealt with in cash. At this point,t I'm silently out.

The following day we met in the morning. I arrived 2 hours before time. I tagged a friend along. I also informed a friend in the security sector to stay in an adjacent hotel. We took breakfast. I told my friend to stick around until they arrived and he excuses himself.

30 minutes to our meeting I get a call from a furious Mutuku. He demands to know why I am bringing a stranger in our deal. I told them it's just another sale but he'll excuse himself once they arrive. So Mutuku had sent some two spies. My friend stayed in the car.

The informers were informing other guys of my movements. They wanted my friend to leave the area. He didn't. One hour after the time of our meeting, I told them I can't wait any longer. They told me the buyer doesn't have enough money. We 'postpone' the closing of the deal.

I call my other security guy in the adjacent hotel and we leave together. A car followed us up to Eastern bypass where we stopped to relax in a hotel owned by a friend working with NIS. I called the lady who introduced me to them. She acted surprised.

My security friend told me to call them they lay a fresh dragnet. All their phones went off.

I don't know what their end game was but in the wake of this Barclays Bank saga, I'm asking myself, were they to give me fake dollars inside the bank? They were very confident they would pay me inside a bank.

Are our banks accomplices to fraud? This is Kenya. Impossible is possible.

Cases of large sums of foreign currencies seized by police have almost become a norm in the country.

In February, fake cash amounting to Sh32 billion was found in a residential house in Ruiru town. This came just months after Chad national and his Kenyan accomplice were caught with Sh1 billion in counterfeit dollars and Euros.

In June 2018, a similar case was reported where two men from Niger and Cameroon were found in possession of an estimated Sh110 billion in counterfeit currency.

These cases have been on the rise and Kenyans have been urged to be careful when transacting large sums of money lest they fall prey to such unscrupulous dealers.

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