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Inside Nairobi’s luxury car theft syndicate: Women charged with fraud

Two women suspected to be members of a car theft syndicate that has been hiring high-end vehicles before fraudulently transferring the car’s ownership to themselves to use in obtaining credit facilities from lenders have been charged with fraud.

They are Emily Wanjiku Kimani and Abigail Wanjiru Waitara, who are accused of conspiring with others to obtain motor vehicle registration by false pretenses.

Ms Kimani is accused of conspiring with other suspects at large and others who have been charged to obtain registration for motor vehicle KDA 202D on diverse dates between April 3 and 5 this year at an unknown place in Kenya.

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Ms Waitara is accused of conspiring with others to obtain registration for a motor vehicle – KCK 346G on diverse dates between January 26 and February 3, this year at an unknown place in Kenya.

Each of the two suspects is charged with obtaining registration by false pretenses. They are accused of willfully procuring transfer of the respective motor vehicles registration certificates – logbooks.

They are accused of committing the offences jointly with others, falsely pretending that the certificates had been issued by the Directorate of Registration and Licensing at the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

Each of the two accused persons also faces a charge of unauthorized access contrary to section 14 (1) of the computer misuse and Cybercrimes Act of 2018.

Ms Waitara is accused of conspiring with others suspected to be NTSA officials to temporarily cause computer systems to perform functions by infringing security measures with intent to access the NTSA system and knowing the access is unauthorised, on dates between January 26 and February 3rd this year.

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She is accused of transferring the motor vehicle ownership from Mr Peter Oloo to Caroline Muthoni Kamau.

Mr Oloo is a person living with a disability who is in the car hire business, and he had leased the car to the suspect. The vehicle has been detained by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) at its offices at the Parklands police station.

Ms Kimani, on the other hand, is accused of obtaining a registration certificate (log book) for a motor vehicle – KDA 202D, a Toyota Land cruiser, on March 16, 2021, at the NTSA headquarters, falsely pretending that the registration had been issued by the NTSA’s directorate of registration and licensing.

She is also facing a charge of obtaining credit by false pretenses contrary to section 316 (a) of the penal code.

Ms Kimani allegedly obtained a loan facility of Sh1.8 million from Mwananchi Credit Limited after presenting the forged logbook bearing registration numbers KDA 202D registered to Faith Wathanu Muturi as the security, knowing the same was false.

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Both suspects denied the charges before Senior Principal Magistrate Monica Kivuti of Makadara Law Courts. Ms Waitara told the court she is an orphan and a mother of young children and sought lenient bail terms.

But detective constable Abdirizak Ali of DCI – NTSA offices unit opposed bail and bond terms for Ms Waitara, saying the suspect is still under investigation for other related matters.

The detective said some of the remaining tasks under investigation include interrogation and recording the suspect’s statements, processing of the suspect’s criminal data records and recording witness statements.

Other tasks include conducting an identification parade for the suspect by multiple witnesses who are victims of the fraudulent transactions, including two lenders – Keep Vision and Growth Credit Limited, Baron Capital Limited, and motor vehicle dealers and individuals.

In the affidavit filed before Senior Principal Magistrate Kivuti, PC Ali revealed that the identification of NTSA officials, whom the suspects allegedly mentioned as accomplices in the motor vehicle fraud, remains pending.

The investigator also stated that he is currently verifying Ms Waitara’s true identity at the National Registration Bureau due to her use of multiple names.

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This process is essential for determining the appropriate charges against the suspect.

PC Ali said Ms Waitara has a pending case at the Ruiru law courts, which was withdrawn mysteriously. She failed to present herself to the officer investigating the matter after she was summoned to Githurai DCI offices.

Ms Kimani was charged with similar charges in May this year at the Makadara. Her accomplices were also charged and released on a bond of Sh1 million, and the prosecution requested Ms Kivuti to set similar bond terms for her.

Ms Kivuti granted her a bond of Sh1 Million for uniformity with that issued to her accomplices. Her case will be mentioned on July 31 for consolidation with that of her accomplices charged earlier.

Ms Waitara was remanded in custody until July 20, when the magistrate will rule on her bail and bond application.

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