A Nairobi businesswoman is counting losses after fraudsters posing as Christ Is The Answer Ministries (CITAM) church employees allegedly defrauded her Ksh2.5 million.
Speaking to a local publication, the woman only identified as Grace (not her real name) stated that the employees aforementioned duped her with fake cheques while they were purchasing equipment she had advertised on a Facebook page.
Prior to the incident, the victim received a call from one of the fraudsters who claimed to be a procurement officer in September 2022.
“We posted some items on Facebook coz we thought that we were not using them and so we wanted to get rid of them coz they were practically new… after a few days, we got a response from somebody by the name Maurice Otieno…he said he works with CITAM,” the victim said.
“He told us he was a procurement officer so he told us to send him a price list which we did via WhatsApp and then he selected items which amounted to Ksh2.5 million,” she added.
Unknown to her, this was the beginning of her woes. The man called again on Monday, October 3, 2022, informing the victim that the church had appointed two ladies to inspect the merchandise.
Upon their arrival, the ladies ‘inspected’ the goods and later returned. A day later the man called again confirming that the church had approved the items closing the deal between the suspect and the victim.
“Maurice calls again, he says the ladies have arrived and have confirmed the items, they are okay and they would like to pick as quickly as possible because they are using them over the weekend,” she stated.
“He told me can we wire them. I said no. He said what about a banker’s cheque. I said a banker’s cheque..yeah…that is fine.”
Shortly after, a man only identified as Gabriel arrived accompanied by a driver with a truck ready to pick up the items.
In his hand were three bankers’ cheques amounting to Ksh850,000 each and handed them to Grace.
“The next day in the afternoon I went to check because I wanted some money ..so the cheques had not cleared but they told me the cheques were ok they had gone through but I can only cash them the next day,” she narrated.
She added: “When I checked the ATM, there was no money at all so I went back to the bank..the same guy I was dealing with the previous day..he said no no. those cheques must have gone through..when he checked, he saw they had been cancelled … that the owner withdrew,”
Consequently, Grace reported the incident to Langata police. The officers tracked down the truck that ferried the aforementioned goods however they later released him after he said he was only hired to pick up the goods.
“This time they told me they found the car but the owner of the truck said he was hired and was told to dump the items somewhere on Thika road,” she adds.
The area OCPD assured the victim that the matter was under police investigation.