Mulot SIM swap scam suspect David Mutai ran for MCA, conned Atwoli and MPs

David Mutai alias Hillary Langat Matindwet

A section of shops at Mulot Central trading centre in Bomet County.  (Inset) David Mutai alias Hillary Langat Matindwet., the alleged mastermind of the infamous Mulot SIM swap syndicate.

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai and DCI

It has emerged that the alleged mastermind of the infamous Mulot SIM swap syndicate, one David Mutai alias Hillary Langat Matindwet, was an aspirant in the Nyangores ward seat in Chepalungu Constituency, Bomet County, ahead of the last General Election.   

Mr Mutai, who goes by several aliases, is accused of leading a theft syndicate that allegedly swindled a South Rift MP of Sh941,000 earlier this month, leading Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers to launch a probe and arrest three suspects involved in the scheme. 

The alleged mastermind was initially among United Democratic Alliance (UDA) aspirants but later shifted to the United Democratic Party (UDP). In election posters which he printed and circulated, he went by the nickname “Matindwet” and was involved in several fundraising drives.

Locals in Kapkwen area where he comes from say he ran for the MCA seat using the alias Hillary Langat. They also say he was popular among voters in the area and was known to be a man with deep pockets and generous to a fault, but could also just as quickly go broke. 

Mr Mutai is still on the run, and the DCI has circulated his image to members of the public in a bid to close the dragnet around the man accused of being behind SIM swap fraud cases in Bomet and Narok counties. SIM swap fraud involves hijacking a victim’s mobile phone number and using it to gain access to sensitive personal data and bank accounts through mobile banking applications.

Detectives have repeatedly raided his home in Kapkwen but failed to arrest him because he would get tipped off by suspected accomplices who are in the police force.

But before this, he had repeatedly been arrested, prosecuted and served term in jail several times over the last 15 years. However, he managed to secure his freedom, only to be accused of engaging in the same criminal activities that took him there.

Chequered history 

During one of his stints in court in 2021, where he was accused of swindling the owner of Kericho-based Brooke Hotel of Sh300,000, he was interviewed by a journalist who was interrogating his crimes. He said: “I have neither been involved in any robbery nor thuggery in my life. I do not approve of such criminal activities. You see, there is a way you can sweet talk someone to part with their money and transfer the same to your account without using any force.” 

At the time, Mr Langat was fending off several court cases relating to fraud.

At one time, around 2006, he was arrested for allegedly swindling former Sports secretary Prof Wilson Langat of Sh400,000 but managed to wriggle out of the case. 

The case is the same two years later in 2008 when he was accused of targeting former Permanent Secretary Josiah Sang who lost more than Sh200,000.

Swindled Atwoli

He has also been charged in court for allegedly swindling Central Organization of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli Sh100,000 claiming it was a contribution to offset funeral expenses when former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto had lost his daughter in 2014. He claimed to be collecting the funds on behalf of Mr Ruto, a county boss at the time, and was arrested when he went back to pick another Sh100,000 from Mr Atwoli. 

For this crime, he was prosecuted, convicted and jailed for over a year along with an accomplice who was driving him around in a Toyota Probox vehicle. 

Open about life of crime

Yet, according to those known to him, the man does not hide what he does for a living. Some of his acquaintances told the Nation that he sometimes states in conversations that he has not stolen money from anyone as his targets are always "willing to part" with their hard-earned cash.

In the year 2021, he reportedly promised Sh3 million for a church in Kuresoi South during a fundraising presided over by area MP Joseph Tonui, but the money was never remitted. 

Those present at the function at the time allege that he passed himself off as a pilot. However, the following day, when members of the public approached him seeking assistance for their children to secure jobs or further education, he swindled them out of between Sh5,000 and Sh25,000 while claiming it was fees for registration of scholarships and processing of visas to various countries.

But even after claiming that he was himself sponsored by Mr Tonui to further his education, the MP would later disown him when his constituents began raising questions about the man's suspicious activities. Mr Tonui clarified that he had never met the man prior to the church function in which they photographed together and sitting side by side.

‘Sold’ hotel he didn't own 

With time, his exploits have become more brazen. At one point, he "sold" a Bomet hotel belonging to a businessman in 2018 while in the presence of the owner who did not suspect any illegal dealing. 

According to those who were present when the events happened and who spoke to Nation. Africa on condition of anonymity, Mr Mutai walked into the hotel with a group of businessmen and met with the owner, who he introduced as the hotel manager, and asked to be shown around the hotel's facilities.

The unsuspecting owner, believing they were potential guests, agreed to do so after he was told that the businessmen were NGO operatives who were planning a one-week workshop. Unknown to him, Mr Mutai had earlier told the visiting group that the hotel was in fact his. 

After the visit, Mr Mutai left with the businessmen who later parted with Sh800,000 down payment for the hotel, only to return to the facility a week later and realise that they had been conned.

Conned an MP

According to the police, the latest manhunt, launched on Wednesday, comes after Mr Mutai and his accomplices allegedly defrauded an unnamed MP of Sh941,000 earlier this month while the politician was out of the country on official duty.

An accomplice who works as a boda boda rider has been arrested by police in Mulot trading centre after he posted wads of money on social media. A third suspect was arrested in Sigor trading centre in Chepalungu Constituency where he was allegedly hiding.

Mr Mutai, police say, remains on the run. 

"The fraudsters who have perfected the act of impersonating senior government officials recently obtained an unspecified amount of money from unsuspecting members of the public after posing as a senior state official who would influence employment and business opportunities at a fee" DCI stated in a tweet yesterday.

According to the DCI, the suspects collude with employees of various banks to access details of targeted individuals, after which they call them posing as customer care agents.