Kenyans charged with imitating president to con businessmen

NAIROBI (Reuters) – A Kenyan court charged seven men on Wednesday for impersonating President Uhuru Kenyatta and swindling a prominent businessman out of 10 million shillings ($100,000) in yet another high-profile corruption case.

FILE PHOTO: Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta attends the opening of the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and the Government of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

The suspects called tyre firm Sameer Africa boss Naushad Merali and his finance director Akif Butt pretending to be the president and asking to sell them land, court documents showed.

The seven pleaded not guilty at a Nairobi court and were released on bail before their case resumes on March 12.

One of the suspected fraudsters impersonated 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 documents read.

The Star newspaper said Joseph Waswa, the man accused of imitating Kenyatta, was known to use luxury cars, helicopters and bodyguards.

Although the case was entertaining, it also showed how pervasive corruption was in East Africa’s richest economy, lamented prominent anti-graft campaigner John Githongo.

“It is so completely normal to be shaken down … that he didn’t even bother to check up before sending the money,” he told Reuters. “For that to happen, especially right now when we are ostensibly in the middle of an anti-corruption campaign, shows that much of it is window dressing.”

Kenyatta’s government has come in for repeated criticism over corruption scandals in the health sectors, national youth service and construction contracts.

Dozens of senior officials and business people were charged in May with various crimes related to the theft of nearly $100 million from the National Youth Service (NYS), a state agency.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations said on Monday it was also investigating what it said was fraudulent construction of two dams valued at 63 billion shillings. Some payments were already made out despite the dams not being built, it said.

Neither Sameer Africa nor Kenyatta’s State House had any immediate comment on Wednesday’s court case.

($1 = 100.0200 Kenyan shillings)

Additional reporting by Katharine Houreld; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

Source

more recommended stories

  • Teenager fails to include word ‘legit’ in text message

    A TEENAGER has committed a terrible.

  • Colombian caught in Spain with cocaine under toupee

    A man poses with a drug.

  • Man trapped inside pair of skinny fit jeans

    A 32-YEAR-OLD man has spent the.

  • Chicago alligator stakeout snaps shut after professional catches reptile

    CHICAGO (Reuters) – An elusive alligator.

  • Office worker having lovely day off in office

    AN office worker has taken a.

  • ‘Best day ever!’ Internet pokes fun at Mexico’s finance minister grim-faced job acceptance

    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s Arturo.

  • How to justify your long-haul holiday to your socially conscious friends

    SPENDING thousands on a fancy summer.

  • The longest toilet break? Belgian sits for five days in bid for record

    OSTEND, Belgium (Reuters) – A Belgian.

  • Woman who asked for ‘civilised’ hen do realises she’s made a terrible mistake

    A WOMAN who told friends organising.

  • Sneakers give art a run for its money at first-of-a-kind Sotheby’s auction

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Move over.

  • who is the most evil?

    FOR unspecified reasons, the Duchess of.

  • Later alligator: Chicago wants scaly resident out of local lagoon

    CHICAGO (Reuters) – An alligator has.

  • The middle class family’s guide to working class holiday resorts

    EVEN the most middle class families.

  • How to use a public toilet without sitting on it

    DOES the idea of placing your.

  • Married couple can’t remember last time they had threesome

    RESTAURANT customers have told waiters not.

  • Rough family appear to have moved sofa onto street permanently

    A FAMILY who moved their sofa.

  • Lithuanian couple defends world wife-carrying championship title

    Vytautas Kirkliauskas of Lithuania carries his.

  • Wedding band decides time is right for one of their own songs

    HAVING a garden party? Keen on.

  • No one cares what song is stuck in your head, Britons told

    NOBODY is remotely interested in hearing.

  • What sort of no-deal Brexit idiot are you?

    ARE you one of those people.

  • Flight crew restrains ‘God’ aboard Delta flight, returns to Puerto Rico

    FILE PHOTO: Delta airlines logo is.

  • Your guide to doing a drunk supermarket shop

    DO you sometimes go to the.

  • Stowaway falls from plane over London, narrowly missing sunbather

    LONDON (Reuters) – The body of.

  • Man ‘babysitting’ his children while wife ‘meets friend for coffee’

    A COUPLE looking through a book.

  • New parents find time for what they love as long as it can be done asleep on toilet

    EVERY noise emanating from the kitchen.

  • Feeling the heat? Estonian takes his sauna on the road, literally

    TALLINN (Reuters) – A lot of.

  • Nostalgic Glastonbury TV viewer wistfully pisses in bottle

    A MAN who has become too.

  • Cricket: Busy bees interrupt South Africa and Sri Lanka … again

    Cricket – ICC Cricket World Cup.

  • Johnson or Corbyn – who would be the worst company?

    DUE to a hospitality mix-up, you’ve.

  • Are you sh*t at your job or is it all a Remainer plot?

    YOUR mistakes have cost your employer.

  • Entire office rendered unable to work by knowledge of cake in kitchen

    AN entire floor of staff was.

  • Johnson pledges tax cut for unicorn breeders

    BORIS Johnson has vowed to slash.