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DPP rejects bail for man who reportedly swindled money from MP’s phone

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has objected to a bail application by a cybercrime suspect plea accused of defrauding two Members of parliament over Sh700,00 in a sim swap syndicate.

Through a prosecutor Judy Koech, the DPP said Bonface Kipngetich Kirui is a repeat offender who should not handed bail as it is feared he will strike again.

Kirui who was charged on May 8, 2023, is accused of swapping the Safaricom sim cards and swindling Marakwet West MP Timothy Toroitich and Matungulu MP Stephen Mule colossal sums milking their accounts dry.

Besides withdrawing cash from the legislators’ accounts, Kirui is accused of using the lawmakers’ sim cards to borrow loans from various mobile money lending apps.

Koech urged the court to decline the accused bail plea saying it is feared he will commit similar crimes since “he committed the current offence while out on bond.”

” I urge this court to reject the bail plea by the accused since he committed this offence while out on bond in several other pending matters and we are apprehensive he will continue committing the same offence again while granted bail,” Koech told Shikwe.

Said Koech: “Releasing him now will be like issuing him with a licence to commit other offences amounting to mockery to justice. Deny him bond so that he can conclude his cases from prison custody.”

Koeach further told the court that Kirui is under investigation by various investigating agencies over other offences of fraudulent acquisition of money from accounts belonging to unsuspecting customers on mobile banking platforms.

The court heard that the accused person is a member of a syndicate that operates in Bomet County which has left several Kenyans including top politicians, senior government officers, and police officers in shock over the loss of money.

The Prosecution urged the court to take judicial notice that a senior police officer recently fell victim to the syndicate which milked his accounts dry.

Koech said that if Kirui Is freed on bond he will interfere with the witnesses in the matter and others pending in court.

The accused did not rebutt to the state submissions.

The magistrate directed the accused to be detained in custody until May 12, 2023, when court will deliver its ruling.

In the case, Kirui is facing several charges of unauthorized interference to computer data, stealing and being in possession of Identity cards belonging to six different persons.

He has denied that on the night of April 12, 2023 at an unknown place in the Republic of Kenya he stole Sh547,567 from Kenya Commercial Bank(KCB) belonging to Toroitich.

“On diverse dates between March 23 and 26,2023 at unknown place and time within the Republic of Kenya, Kirui jointly with others not before court stole Ksh 133,785 from MPesa account, Timiza account, Mshwari account, Vooma App, KCB Mpesa account and KCB bank account of Mp Mule,” the charge sheet stated in second count.

Kirui was also charged that on April 12,2023 at 1717 hours at unknown place and place within the Republic of Kenya, intentionally and without authority changed the Safaricom details of Toroitich causing an unauthorized interference to the Safaricom computer data of the politician.

He was further accused of being unlawfully in possession of identity cards belonging to six different persons namely Phanice Asiko Otanga, Robert Mogeni Maraburi, Alex Mwebi Magena, Kevin Kipkoech Bett, Emmah Cherono, and Joyce Mutete Kimuya during his arrest on April 27,2023.

Kirui was arrested by DCI detectives in Kahawa Wendani area after the two MPs lodged complaints with Parliament police station and Safaricom Mobile Service Provider of the alleged interference of the personal data leading to loss of money from their accounts.

In one of the complaints lodged with police by MP Kipchumba, he claims that he fell victim to a sim card swapping syndicate that left his accounts dry on the night of April 12, 2022.

He claims that on the fateful night his Safaricom line suddenly lost its network as from 5pm

According to the MP, he thought it was normal network failure and when the condition persisted, he asked his personal assistant to call his number to find out if the call could go through.

However, to his surprise the call went through and was answered by another person.

This prompted him to call safaricom customer care and he was informed that his line was sim swapped at 5:17pm.

The Mp who is also an Advocate, later called two banks where his accounts are domiciled,namely National Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank to confirm whether his bank account had been compromised.

The response received from Kenya Commercial Bank was that someone got access to his account and transferred a sum of Ksh 617,567 to a bank account and various safaricom numbers.

On April 13,2023, the MP visited his branch at Kipande house where he obtained a customer statement and later reported the matter at Parliament police station for police investigations.

Kirui was remanded until May 12,2023 when the court will determine whether to free him or not.

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