How Kenyatta University manager lost Sh500,000 in gemstone scam

The piece of stone that Ms Agatha Makhanu bought for Sh500,000 about being duped by scammers. PHOTO| JOSEPH OPENDA | NATION

An investigator has given a shocking narration before a Nakuru court detailing how a Kenyatta University employee was conned Sh500,000 in a gemstone scam.

Mr Boniface Omondi who is a lead investigator in the fraud case told the court how the complainant identified as Ms Agatha Makhanu who works as an administrator at the Kenyatta University was duped into purchasing stones disguised as meteorites.

Testifying before the court Mr Omondi, a cybercrime detective attached to the Nakuru County Directorate of Criminal Investigations said, the woman paid Sh492,000 to Daniel Kiprono, Christopher Langat and Dominic Chelele, who purported to sell her the meteorites.

She however, learnt later that the package was just a heap of normal stones.

The scam, the court heard, occurred on diverse dates between July 28, 2020 and August 9, 2020 at Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation.

Appearing before Chief magistrate Bildad Ochieng, Mr Omondi revealed that the stones were neatly wrapped in an aluminum foil in a bid to hoodwink the victim that they are special gems.

According to the detective, Ms Makhanu was approached by one of the suspects Chelele wanted her to partner with to purchase the ’precious stones.’

Ms Makhanu allegedly knew Chelele through her nephew, whom she had helped acquire a scholarship to join Kenyatta University and so including her in the deal was his way of appreciating her.

In the said deal Makhanu and Langat were to meet a Briton only identified as John, who was interested in purchasing the precious stones.

The three were to purchase the stones from another person to sell them to the Whiteman. Chelele allegedly requested Ms Makhanu to raise the amount.

“She obtained an emergency loan of Sh 386 ,000 loan from a bank on August 6,2020, before she travelled to Njoro, in Nakuru County, to meet a third party who was to sell the said precious stones.

The detective further revealed that Ms Makhanu met with Titus Kipyegon who delivered the alleged stones and showed them to her while demanding the money.

“I paid the money through a number given by Chelele on August 7 and August 8 ,"she added.

However, when she travelled to the City Bank Upper Hill branch in Nairobi, with the intention of meeting the buyer she was shocked as they failed to turn up.

She decided to open the parcel only to find she had been duped after discovering that it was a heap of normal stones properly wrapped with a foil.

Furious about the incident, she reported the matter to Parliament Police Station, before it was referred to Nakuru.

The officer said the woman was able to produce a bank transaction of the money he had paid to the accused persons.

“On August 18, I received a case of obtaining money by false pretense. The complainant is said to have been conned by a person who purported to be in a position to sell her the precious stone,”said Mr Omondi.

The hearing will proceed on July 3.