Seven who conned Sameer boss of Sh10m by mimicking Uhuru set free
The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji on Friday dropped charges against seven men who had been accused of impersonating former President Uhuru Kenyatta and swindling a prominent businessman out of Sh10 million in 2019.
The seven suspects allegedly called tyre firm Sameer Africa boss Naushad Merali pretending to be the president and asked the businessman the money as facilitation fees so that ‘State House’ could assist in the purchase of a piece of land at Nairobi’s Milimani area.
Haji, through State Counsel Anderson Gikunda, told Milimani Chief Magistrate Lucas Onyina that the prosecution wished to withdraw the case against the seven suspects for lack of witnesses after the complainant, Merali, passed on in July 2021.
The prosecutor said that following the death of the complainant, the investigating officer in the matter is unable to find witnesses to testify in the case since efforts to even trace Sameer Africa Finance chief Akif Hamid Butt who was also a key witness in the case have also been fruitless.
Mr Butt was told that the money was for the purchase of land in Milimani, Nairobi, and the fraudsters gave him the number of an account at Equity Bank, into which he deposited it.
“We urge the court to kindly allow the case to be withdrawn under Section 87 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) as the current investigating officer is unable to trace the witnesses in the case following the death of the complainant,” he told the court.
He asked the magistrate to allow the DPP to withdraw the case and assured that if the witnesses are traced by the DCI, the accused persons will be re-arrested and face a full trial.
The seven – Joseph Waswa, Duncan Muchai, Issack Wanyonyi, William Simiyu, David Kikuyu, Gilbert Kirunja and Antony Wafula – pleaded not guilty at a Nairobi court and were released on bail before their case resumed on March 11, 2019.
One of the suspected fraudsters who impersonated Mr Kenyatta’s voice, while the others arrived in fancy vehicles and suits to collect the money, police said.
“Merali… gave a go-ahead to the finance director to process payment believing he spoke to the head of state,” the court documents read.
Mr Waswa, the man accused of imitating Mr Kenyatta, was known to use luxury cars, helicopters and bodyguards.
After their conversation, the “president” promised to send an official from state House to collect the logistics money.
The very well-dressed men later showed up at the offices of the businessman and collect the money as agreed.
It is only when Sameer Group of Companies wrote to the State House seeking an audience with the president over a tender deal that the matter came to light.
Police impounded three high-end vehicles that included Toyota Land Cruisers and V8’s, which the conmen used in their operations.
The suspects were arrested on February 22, 2020, after the scheme went wrong and information reached the President and other State House officials.