Two SIM swap fraudsters arrested in Bomet

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Police have arrested two people believed to be part of a SIM swap fraud syndicate operating in Kericho, Nakuru, and Bomet counties.

The suspects, identified as Denis Kipkoech Kirui and Sylvia Chepkemoi were nabbed, at the Sunset area, in Mulot, after the female suspect registered an Airtel line for her suspected accomplice (Denis), who has been on the police radar for sim swap fraud.

Police seized copies of identity cards, Airtel sim cards and other items, believed to have been used to perpetuate SIM swap fraud.

"The two were arrested by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations who have been pursuing Kirui. The two are held at Mulot Police Station cells awaiting to be charged in court on Monday," reads a police report by the DCI.

The arrests were part of an ongoing crackdown on criminal gangs in the region, following numerous reports of SIM swap fraud from the public.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) said the suspects are part of a syndicate with tentacles in various parts of the Rift Valley and parts of Nairobi and Mombasa.

Detectives have been pursuing members of the well-connected syndicate in a sustained crackdown since last year.

In February they also arrested two men they said were members of the gang.

In December last year, 10 suspects engaged in the money transfer racket, were arrested in Olbutyo, Chepalungu constituency in a similar operation.

Mulot trading complex comprises three trading centres – Mulot Sunset in Bomet County, and Mulot Central and Mulot Olomirani both in Narok County which form the cybercrime hub.

According to Bomet County Police Commander Robinson Ndhiwa, in the last five months, a total of 25 of the fraudsters have been arrested by the police in the ongoing crackdown aimed at ridding the regime of crime.

“Police have arrested about 25 of the fraudsters who have been charged in court with swindling unsuspecting members of the public of their hard-earned money,” Mr Ndhiwa told the Nation.

The swappers, mostly teenagers, illegally transfer money from people's bank accounts and mobile phones.

Some of the suspects are said to have colluded with crafty employees of mobile phone companies and financial institutions who facilitated the leakage of details of the various accounts held by clients.

The crime came into the limelight more than 10 years ago but was hushed up by the banks and mobile phone companies that wanted to protect their image after their security systems were compromised.