On 10th January this year, a member of the public reported to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission that he had been swindled out of Kshs. 700,000 by people claiming to be EACC investigators. While at his home in Nairobi’s Kahawa Sukari Estate on 6th January, he had received a telephone call from a person identifying herself as Elizabeth Muasya based at Integrity Centre.
She had informed him that he had been adversely mentioned in connection with illegal water connections from Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company whereby several people had been arrested and charged in court. She had further claimed that they had photographic evidence of the illegal connection as well as his passport that showed he was an old man.
According to the caller, some of the culprits had paid bribes of between one and two million shillings and that the compromised water company employees had been taken to court. However, the caller could have his case terminated if he co-operated with her by paying a Kshs 1 million bribe. Elizabeth had then advised him to go to Integrity Centre with the money where she would destroy the case file in his presence.
During the conversation, Elizabeth had handed the phone to her purported boss who had told him that if he co-operated, they would terminate his case. After a short while, the suspect had called back and threatened to forward the file to court the following morning if he failed to deliver the money by 1pm.
Due to the mounting pressure, the complainant had withdrawn Kshs.200,000 and added another Kshs.200,000 which he had handed over to the suspect, who was in accompany of his purported boss at Roasters area on Thika road.
On 7th January, the suspect had called again demanding the balance. Only an additional Kshs300,000 was available, which he was ordered to take to Integrity Centre. However, on arrival Elizabeth called to say she had left for another office on Kiambu Road and asked him to meet her there. He met her at Muthaiga near Gertrude’s Garden Children’s Hospital and handed over the Kshs. 300,00 inside a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado vehicle registration No. KCB 717H. Thereafter, he was dropped off near Muthaiga Police Station with instructions to raise the balance of Kshs. 300, 000.
On 10th January, he decided to report the matter to the Commission after the suspects continued demanding more money. Subsequent investigations led EACC officers to Kahawa West where they arrested the two suspects as they waited to receive the balance of Kshs. 300,000. A pistol loaded with 14 rounds of ammunition was recovered from their vehicle, which was also impounded.
Media outlets recently carried reports of two impostors who had visited the offices of Senior Counsel John Khaminwa to intimidate and extort money from him in connection with his role in a matter before the Court of Appeal regarding the Building Bridges Initiative. It was reported that the two identified themselves EACC officers despite the absence of any evidence in that respect.
Members of the public should continue to report suspicious individuals who introduce themselves as EACC officers without proper identification. This will ensure that such crooks are punished and serve as a way of deterring those entertaining thoughts of masquerading as EACC investigators. This will reinforce public trust in the Commission and its efforts in the war against corruption.