Mandeleo ya Wanaume boss spends night in police cell over fraud claims
Maendeleo ya Wanaume chairman Mr Nderitu Njoka spent Tuesday night in police custody after he was arrested for allegedly swindling traders at Maralal market.
The traders gathered outside CID offices at Maralal police station to record statements after they were allegedly duped into paying Mr Njoka for business stalls.
Most of them had receipts of rent deposit for the stalls he was said to be constructing behind Maralal bus terminus.
Trouble started when the traders realised that the stalls were double leased. Some of those who had paid deposit realised that Mr Njoka was not the owner.
One of the traders, Mr Samuel Kimaru said the owner came when the stalls were completed and demanded rent. He added that the owner denied knowing Mr Njoka.
“I paid Sh15,000 to Mr Njoka as a three months rent deposit for one of the stalls he was constructing. He hoodwinked us into believing the stalls were his,” said Mr Kimaru.
“I had saved money for a long time from my small vegetable business to raise Sh10,000 that I paid to Njoka as a rent deposit for a stall. The stall I paid belongs to someone else,” said Ms Catherine Lakit.
Samburu Central District Criminal Investigation Officer Mr Vincent Engesa said Mr Njoka had received Sh284,000 between January and March this year as rent deposit from 14 traders.
Mr Engesa said more people were expected to file complaints.
“It is very unfortunate that the suspect went underground when the stalls were completed after having received the money from traders,” he said.
He said the police are investigating the matter and that Mr Njoka is likely to appear before court Thursday after the prosecution file has been compiled.
The complainants said Mr Njoka was charging between Sh5,000 and Sh10,000 monthly rent per stall depending on size.
15- YEAR LEASE
Speaking at Maralal police station on Wednesday, Mr Njoka said he had a 15-year lease for the plot on which he was constructing the stalls.
He claimed that there was confusion that resulted to the allegations because his partner in the venture was not in good terms with his wife at that time.
“I talked to the owner of that plot yesterday and he assured me that those people whom I have received their rent deposits will own those stalls,” he said.
Mr Njoka accused his partner’s wife for allegedly demolishing about 40 of his stalls worth Sh4 million without his knowledge.
“I am aware that that woman has joined up with other women leaders to tarnish my name but that will not deter my campaign in defending men,” he said.
Mr Njoka said his real estate company, Mastermind Real Estates was ready to refund money to those who had missed stalls.
The traders are asking the government to intervene and help them get their money back.
“We want to use that money to pay rent to the owner before he lease off the stalls to other people.
“Getting a business stall or a house in this town is a big problem and that is how we were conned by being told to make bookings in advance even before the stalls were set up,” said Mr Kimaru.