Kasarani SIM swap suspects deny Sh110, 000 theft
Two men arrested at their house in Kasarani, Nairobi, with assorted SIM cards, national identity cards, and mobile phones were charged with stealing Sh110,350 from a small-scale businesswoman after swapping her Safaricom number to access her M-pesa account.
They are Ronald Kipngetich Tuei and Leonard Kinduywa, who were charged with theft contrary to section 268 (1) of the Penal Code.
The two are accused of stealing the money from Gladys Omwang on October 29 at an unknown place by swapping her SIM card. They are accused of committing the offence jointly with others at large.
Tuei and Kinduywa are further charged with preparation to commit a felony in contravention of section 308 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code after they were found with items that police and the state prosecution office were intended for use in crime.
They are accused of having assorted SIM cards from two different mobile phone service providers, national identity cards and mobile phones, in circumstances that indicated they were preparing to commit a crime of stealing from unsuspecting public members at the time of their arrest on December 2.
Police traced them after Omwang reported the theft at the Savannah Police Post in Donholm, Nairobi.
Omwang received a call from a strange caller who did not identify themselves but called persistently, prompting her to switch her phone off owing to the disturbance.
She later switched on the phone but discovered that she could not make or receive a call or send or receive a text on her mobile phone.
Her M-Pesa account also did not work the next day, so she took the phone to a technician, who told her that the Safaricom SIM card had a problem.
She went to a Safaricom customer care shop, where she was informed that her line had been swapped. Omwang replaced it and realized that some transactions had been made on her M-Pesa account, and she had lost the money.
Police identified the mobile phone numbers of those who received money from Omwang’s M-pesa and traced them to their house in Kasarani, where the two suspects were arrested.
They denied the charges before Principal Magistrate Irene Gichobi of the Makadara Law Courts.
They pleaded for lenient bail and bond terms through lawyer Alice Maina, who told the court that their mobile phones were confiscated and included among those they were found with. They said they only had five mobile phones.
Gichobi freed the suspects on a bond of Sh80,000 without an option of a cash bail despite a plea by Ms Maina for a cash bail.
The magistrate summoned the officer investigating the matter to turn up in court on January 10 during the mention of the case to respond to the claims by the suspects.