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Police nab fraud suspect impersonating UN employee

Detectives have arrested a man who posed as an agent of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, (UNHCR) and is accused of conning a Nairobi businessman of Sh11 million in a fake rice supply deal.

Detectives based at the Economic Crimes branch are investigating how the suspect identified as Martin Shiamia Matchel, 31, awarded a fake tender to supply 1,680 bags of rice to the U.N agency.

The victim only realised the documents were fake one month later and that he’d been defrauded.

Matchel was arrested on Sunday at the Namanga border point as he was attempting to flee to neighboring Tanzania, according to a statement from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Wednesday.

“A manhunt for Matchel was launched, leading to his arrest on Sunday at the Namanga border point, as he was attempting to cross over to Tanzania to defraud yet another businessman,” read the statement.

According to the DCI, in December last year, Matchel approached a businessman known as Mohammed and offered to introduce him to the U.N supplies system, where upon successful assimilation he would be paid top dollar for supply of high-grade goods and services.

He posed as an agent of top decision makers in the U.N system and bragged of knowing his way around the corridors of U.N Nairobi offices, in Gigiri.

He convinced the businessman that he was aware of a lucrative tender that was to be issued by the UNHCR to supply first grade Rice and asked him to submit his business profile to an email address purportedly belonging to the UNHCR and wait for the agency’s response.

A week later Mohamed received a go-ahead to proceed with the aforementioned deal, Matchel promised that upon successful assimilation he would be paid top dollar for his services.

After running a few samples for quality control procedures, Mohamed then transferred a total of Sh11 million from his Equity bank account to an account belonging to Yazeed Rice Company, in Tanzania.

To demonstrate his proficiency, Matchel introduced his accomplice, Peris Nyawira posing as an Inspection Officer from the UNCHR, who went to Arusha to inspect on the packaging of the goods.

After the consignment arrived in Kenya Mohammed was asked to wait for his payment for about a month as it was being processed. But in a call that would later shock him, he learnt on February 6, 2022, that the whole deal was a conspiracy of lies and that the rice went nowhere past Nairobi, and was instead being sold by rice vendors in local markets.

The now suspicious Mohammed went to U.N offices in Gigiri where he was informed that the documents in his possession were all fake and that no such tender had been issued by the agency.

The DCI then launched a manhunt, after Mohammed reported the case, leading to Matchel’s arrest.

Preliminary investigations, DCI added, show that the accused has had previous run-ins with the law having several pending fraud cases spread across various courts across the country.