A suspected fraudster was arrested and arraigned for allegedly conning a Nairobi businessman of Ksh.11 million in a fake rice supply deal.
The suspect, Martin Shiamia Matchel, 31, appeared before a Nairobi court on Tuesday to face charges of conspiracy to defraud, stealing by agent, obtaining goods by false pretenses and forgery of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) documents, all to which he pleaded guilty.
Matchel was the 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 after the businessman reported the case to DCI.
Matchel is said to have approached the businessman, Mohammed, disguising himself as a UNHCR agent in December last year offering introduce him to the U.N supplies system awarding him a fake tender to supply 1,680 bags of rice to U.N.
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.
Matchel emphasized the urgency of the goods claiming the rice was required for relief distribution to hunger stricken refugees at a camp in South Sudan, prompting haste.
He however pointed out that the situation was getting inflamed by ‘conflict’ in Ethiopia further advising Mohammed to instead import the product from Tanzania at a cheaper price.
After running a few samples for quality control procedures, Mohamed then transferred a total of Ksh.11 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 he 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.