It was supposed to be a dream job in a country where millions of youths are unemployed. A good salary, free accommodation and the chance to work for a luxury hotel in the scenic Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
But this offer, which attracted the attention of thousands of young Kenyans desperate for a chance to better their lives, but turned out to be an elaborate ruse, is now the subject of a police investigation.
Fraudsters purporting to be the managers of the non-existent “Mara Crescent Resort” minted millions in “facilitation fees” from jobless youths. Some of the victims, who had travelled from as far as Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisii, were over the weekend left stranded at Maasai Mara’s Sekenani Gate after learning that they had been conned.
The park’s deputy senior warden, Mr Eddy Nkoitoi, told Nation that the job-seekers turned up with employment letters only to have their hopes crushed. Police in Narok have launched investigations into the scam.
An advert posted on the resort’s website, https://maracrescent.co.ke/careers/, says: “We are looking for enthusiastic, energetic, friendly staff, to be part of our opening team at the Mara Crescent. At Mara Crescent, we believe your attitude is more important than anything. This is why we wish to recruit dynamic, result-oriented and committed individuals to serve within the resort and on game drives.” Job seekers were invited to send their applications to the human resource manager, Mara Crescent, PO Box 338-20500, Narok.
The salary for waiters was announced as Sh28,000 per month, chefs and kitchen staff (Sh31,000-38,000), front desk staff and receptionists Sh32,000, room attendants Sh29,000 and cleaners Sh20,000.
A victim, Mr Kepha Charo, told Nation he got an appointment letter via e-mail, but without an interview, although he paid Sh2,740 for a medical certificate.
“I was given a reporting date and was in constant communication with an official at the company. When I reached the Maasai Mara Game Reserve entrance, his phone went off. I later learnt that it was all a hoax and many others had been conned,” Mr Charo said.
This is the second time Kenyans are being duped in a hotel employment scam in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve after fraudsters calling themselves “Mara Palacio Resort Kenya Limited” were arrested three years ago in a similar racket.