Facebook accepts money from fake ‘Uwezo Fund’ page conning Kenya youth
The most dangerous bit about a Facebook page purporting to issue loans on behalf of the government is that it has paid the social network firm to boost the visibility of its posts to thousands of Kenyan users, meaning it has a potential to reach numerous unsuspecting people.
What’s more, the Facebook advertisements from the page titled “Uwezo Fund Online Loans” are accompanied by photos of First Lady Margaret Kenyatta posing with Mrs Rachel Ruto, the wife of the Deputy President, in an apparent bid to get legitimacy.
It also uses the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) logo.
Facebook indicates that the page was created on May 14. By 6.40pm on Thursday, it had 13,005 likes, which was 410 higher than the number of likes at the same hour the day before.
It has a link to a website through which where a person can apply for a loan — but after paying a “refundable” facilitation fee of Sh500.
“Uwezo Fund kenya in partnership with Youth Enterprise Fund has launched a fund which gives you access to fast and convenient interest free loans to your M-Pesa. Youths, women and men from any part of the country will benefit,” reads a message on the website.
On Friday, the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) chairman Ronald Osumba disowned the Facebook page and the website it is linked to.
“We have reported severally to the police and they have promised action,” said Mr Osumba, who urged Kenyans to be careful.
“When in doubt to physically visit our offices which are in every county or at Huduma Centre countrywide,” added Mr Osumba.
Activities of the suspicious Facebook page have been a subject of discussion by some hawk-eyed Kenyans, among them software creator Samson Wanjohi who took to Facebook to raise various questionable elements of the site.
It promises a loan of between Sh1,000 and Sh200,000, but a first-time user has to pay Sh500 which they say is security for the loan.
Further checks show that the number provided to send the Sh500 is also on a loan-offering site called Pata Mkopo.
“Lots of things don’t make sense about this website,” posted Mr Wanjohi. “Statement of issuing loans to anyone above 18 contradicts with official Uwezo position of 18-35.”