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Detectives arrest five in connection to SIM swap fraud involving the dead

By Amina Wako February 16th, 2021 2 min read

Officers from the Operations Branch, Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau (CRIB) and Special Service Unit (SSU) have arrested five prime suspects said to be part of SIM-swap fraud Syndicate.

According to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the five were arrested after it emerged that a telephone number of a dead person had been used to steal from another dead man.

The report by the DCI shows how the group transferred Sh2.8 million from the banking apps of Nairobi businessman Amos Ngata Muiruri, who died in November 2020.

“One of his sons discovered that the father’s telephone which he used for mobile bank transactions when he was alive had suddenly gone dead. The line was swiftly activated on another unknown phone. After the son reported the matter to Safaricom and the line was reverted to the family, they discovered that more than Sh2.8 million had been stolen though the NCBA App operated by the NCBA Bank Kenya, the Eazzy Banking app for the Equity Bank and the Mcoop cash app for the Co-operative Bank,” DCI said.

“The children visited the banks and confirmed the cash had been transferred to a different telephone number,” DCI added.

The family reported the matter to the DCI headquarters and it emerged that the number that was used to clean up Ngata’s bank accounts belonged to Rev Peter Kania Kariuki, the PCEA Secretary-General.

Surprisingly, Rev Kania passed away in July, 2020, four months before Ngata died.

Also the syndicate had reportedly stolen Sh500,000 from Rev Kania’s bank account without the knowledge of his widow and his children.

“Unknown to Rev Kania’s family, the telephone line he used before he died had been used to steal money from the late Ngata and many other Kenyans,” DCI went on.

Detectives launched investigations only to discover the dark world of the modern, lethal and high-tech phone scammers.

“It’s through Ngata’s phone that detectives made a breakthrough in the major SIM-swap fraud through which the dead and the living have lost millions of shillings.”

According to the DCI, the scammers target those who have died and their families placed their death announcements in newspapers, those who are elderly and those who have travelled abroad.

“The telephone lines of those that fall in that category have minimal chances of raising suspicion. They normally strike soon after the person dies and before the family establishes the exact wealth in the deceased’s bank accounts,” added DCI.

The five suspects arrested were arraigned in Nairobi on Tuesday as detectives continue to search for more suspects.