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Peter Kimanga mystery death in Dubai, a jobs scam and a defensive Kenyan politician

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In this photo, the late Peter Kimanga before he left for Dubai. 

On April 29, 2024, two brothers were excited when they boarded a Dubai-bound flight at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi.

For Peter Kimanga, 35, and Kelvin Mwangi, 32, this was their ticket out of joblessness and an opportunity to transform their lives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

If everything went according to plan, the brothers would secure jobs at a supermarket, each pocketing a monthly salary of Sh150,000 in the city famed for luxury shopping.

And this chance for a lucky break hadn’t come cheap. Their mother, Jane Nduta, had paid Sh400, 000 to a Kenyan fixer for the jobs placement.

Vistors' visas

Julian Wanjiku was to receive the brothers in Dubai, offer them temporary accommodation and help them secure working visas.

As is the underhand practice by overseas jobs agencies, the two brothers were initially travelling on visitors’ visas.

Julian Wanjiku. She says she should not be blamed for Kimanga's death in Dubai.

Photo credit: Photo | Courtesy

Consequently, their return tickets indicated they were to travel back on May 15, 2024.

However, the understanding by the parties was that this was just a ploy to beat the Emirati immigration hurdle.

The brothers would not be returning home anytime soon in their quest for greener pastures.  

As the plane touched down at Sharjah International Airport, Kimanga and Mwangi were mesmerised by the spectacular view of the historic city boasting two special coastlines— the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, breathtaking natural landscapes and iconic architecture.

Wanjiku noshow

From the skies above, the city’s proximity to Dubai, about 30 kilometres away, must have offered the two brothers a glimpse of their destination— the world-class city of skyscrapers, ports and beaches.

But on arrival, their handler, Wanjiku, had not showed up at the airport to welcome them as agreed.

After unsuccessfully vying for Kalimoni Ward seat in Juja sub-County on a Jubilee ticket in the 2022 General Election, Wanjiku had relocated to Dubai.

With Wanjiku a no-show, another agent picked up the two brothers at the airport and drove them to Jebel Ali, a port town located 35 kilometres south west of Dubai.

Here, the brothers were ushered into an abandoned dilapidated apartment at Jebel Investment Park.

The jobs they had been promised weren’t forthcoming. Instead, they underwent a harrowing ordeal that would end tragically.

Became homeless

Fate would also separate the brothers for life in a land far away from home.

The circumstances leading to the death of Kimanga on May 15, on the day the two brothers coincidentally were expected to travel back, according to their return air tickets, are contested by both parties.

Mwangi says they were homeless and slept on the streets, and that his brother collapsed and died due to the harsh treatment.

He says Kimanga could not cope with the depression and threats by the local agent.

The family maintains that Kimanga had no pre-existing medical condition and disputes a post-mortem report that shows Kimanga succumbed to a heart problem.

''My son died out of stress and depression for being homeless. The agent who was supposed to house my sons threatened them. My son was frustrated after Julian Wanjiku Maina duped us and pocketed Sh400,000 only for them to arrive in Dubai and realise it was a job scam,'' Nduta protests.

It is a row that is now the subject of a police investigations. The mother reported the case that is booked under OB No /1O/16/05/2024 at Matangi Police Post, Juja sub-County in Kiambu.

Seeking refund

She is seeking a refund and prosecution of Wanjiku.

''We want the prosecution of Julian Wanjiku Maina and a refund of the money we paid her for promising my sons fake jobs,'' Nduta told the Nation in an interview last week.

But how were the two brothers duped?

A trail of money transfers seen by the Nation shows Wanjiku Sh400, 000 received from Nduta in four instalments between March and April.

On March 30, Nduta paid her Sh50,000, Sh120,000 on April 16, Sh130,000 on April 22 and Sh100,000 on April 24.

Wanjiku confirmed to the Nation that she received the money from Nduta, which was meant to secure supermarket jobs for the latter’s two sons.

The politician explained that she was just a link between the family and a job fixer in Dubai.

'Just a link'

Nduta said she should not be blamed for Kimanga’s death.

''Yes, it is true I received the money from Nduta but I was just a link between the family and my contact in Dubai,’’ Wanjiku told the Nation last week.

But she declined to respond to questions as to why the two brothers left on a visitor’s visa, without work visas or contracts for the promised jobs.

She also did not show proof of arranged accommodation. 

''The blame should not be put on me. About the death, he died of alcoholism after he arrived in Dubai,” Wanjiku claimed.

“I cannot discuss much unless you talk to my lawyer,’’ she responded when probed further, including her failure to undertake due diligence on the job offers, whether she would refund the Sh400, 000 and compensate the family.

Mwangi returned to Kenya with her brother’s body on May 28. The family paid Sh670, 000 to transport the body. Kimanga was buried on June 5.

John Waiganjo had also fallen for the allure of his neighbours leaving the country for greener pastures.

Wired Sh110,000 

Waiganjo wired Sh110, 0000 to Wanjiku on May 18.

He, too, had been promised a supermarket job and free accommodation in Dubai, documents in our possession show.

The Sh110,000 was for visa and air ticket fees.

Excited at the prospects of a job overseas, although he had not bothered to seek a contract, Waiganjo shared the copy of his visa and air ticket with a friend.

But the friend told him the documents were fake.

Doubting that a family friend could have defrauded them, they cross-examined the documents with travel agents in Nairobi who confirmed they were fake.

The family of Waiganjo reported Wanjiku to Kimunyu Police Station. The incident was booked under OB Number 8/15/5/ 2024. Fearing arrest, Wanjiku refunded the money.

Escaped arrest

''I am lucky I got my money back and escaped arrest at the airport because I would have turned up at the immigration desk with fake documents unawares. I am also lucky because I did not make it to Dubai; I don’t know what would have happened to me,’’ Waiganjo told the Nation.

Wanjiku acknowledged she received the money from Waiganjo, which she refunded at the police station.

She blamed a person she said was assisting her with the visa application for the bogus documents.

Reports indicate more jobless Kenyans paid Wanjiku for jobs that never were.

Sh600m scam

Desperate jobseekers continue to fall prey to overseas job rackets.

In April, the Nation exclusively reported how a pastor had scammed 4,000 job seekers Sh600 million by promising them jobs in Europe and the US.

Prospective job seekers paid between Sh100,000 to Sh140,000 ostensibly for caregiver and hotelier jobs.

But the victims not only lost the money but some were also slapped with visa bans by Canada after it emerged falsified documents had been used to support their visa applications.

Police are still investigating the case.