22 January 2013

Kenya: How Busia Traders Lost Sh300,000 to Waiganjo

AUGUSTINE Kimani Kamau, a Busia based cross-border trader and his colleague, Kimani, will not forget the day his long-time friend-come -trader introduced him to a friend who turned out to be a professional conman.

The swindler sweet-talked him and a friend into paying out Sh300,000 in a botched motor vehicle deal. Kamau recalls that in October 2009, a close ally and broker Peter Kinyanjui introduced him to Joshua Karia Njahi Waiganjo.

"My long-time friend and colleague, Peter Kinyanjui, had earlier asked me to lend him my car to enable him travel to his Nyahururu rural home. I drove my vehicle to a petrol station at Ebenezer near the former weigh-bridge where I found Kinyanjui waiting for me in the company of a friend who I later came to realise was called Joshua Karianjahi Waiganjo," says Kamau.

Kamau says after exchanging pleasantries and after re-fuelling the car, Kinyanjui bid them farewell and set off for Nyahururu at around 10am.

"After seeing Kinyanjui off, Waiganjo volunteered to give me a lift in his vehicle up to Airstrip estate in Busia municipality. As we rode, Waiganjo said I was such a kind man who had allowed a friend to use my car to travel to his home.

After dropping me at the gate, Waiganjo asked me to give him my contact which I did after which he returned to a rental house at an estate about five kilometres away.

Kamau was surprised when Waiganjo returned to his house the following morning when he showered him with praises in the presence of family members, saying he had not seen such a kind man who could easily lend a car to a person.

"I spent sleepless nights thinking about what you did yesterday because I have never ever come across such a kind person like you. Your kind gesture has drawn me towards you and that is why I have come back here again so we can seal a deal," he told me.

He pledged to reward him for the gesture, saying he had several vehicle on hire to the United Nations offices at Gigiri. "Waiganjo assured me he would help me get a vehicle after which he would also assist me so that my vehicles can be hired by the UN hence enabling me to get good money in the process," he said.

"I told him I did not have enough money to enable me buy a vehicle for hire, but he told me he had volunteered to help me get an FRR Isuzu vehicle considering that he is connected with prominent personalities both in the government and other corporations in the country," Kinyanjui says.

Kinyanjui stayed in Nyahuru for a week and returned to Nakuru where he and Waiganjo had agreed to meet after a phone conversation.

"I boarded a bus from Busia and travelled to Nakuru where I met Waiganjo and Kinyanjui who gave me a rousing welcome. We then went for lunch at a local hotel," he says.

After lunch, Waiganjo gave Kinyanjui a pamphlet that contained a list of motor vehicle dealers in Nakuru and proceeded to Nakuru Automobile where Waiganjo introduced me to the manager. He told the manager: "This is the person I had been telling you about. He has come all the way from Busia," he said.

The manager took him round the shop showing him a range of vehicles and settled for an Isuzu FRR. "The alleged manager of Nakuru Automobile told me to say I had a refrigerated container. He then entered my name in the computer as a guarantee," he said.

Kamau went to NIC bank, Nakuru, where he found his name already entered in the computer and was asked to pay Sh70, 000 he paid Waiganjo as downpayment.

"The manager promised to help me on the basis of my friendship to Waiganjo. Little did I know he was a one of Waiganjo's accomplices," said the businessman.

He paid Sh15, 000 for a wooden plank and another Sh25, 000 to replace a tyre because the vehicle I had chosen had a small tyre that needed replacement.

They proceeded to the Vehicle Inspection Unit which Waiganjo allegedly told him was headed by a brother to former Limuru MP Kuria Kanyingi and bargained for a tent," he claims. The entire process cost Sh150,000.

They returned to Busia to await collection of the vehicle after Waiganjo and Kinyanjui assured him he would get the vehicle. Two weeks later, Kamau received a call from Waiganjo advising him to prepare himself for travel to Nakuru the following morning to pick the vehicle.

"Before the journey, I had some pressing issues I wanted to sort out at Barclays bank branch in Busia. However,I was surprised when a friend who worked at the bank and was Waiganjo's neighbor told me he saw Waiganjo packing his household items and left for an unknown destination," says Kamau.

Waiganjo later switched off his phone after the deal that occurred between October 2009 and January 2010. "Even my fellow businessman called Kimani lost Sh150, 000," says Kamau and asked the Government to launch investigations into the scandals the fake police office was engaged in.

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