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Living Large, Jobless JKUAT Graduate Goes Missing After Abduction

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Detectives based at Juja Police Station in Kiambu are currently investigating a reported case of kidnapping of a 23-year-old Victor Kibet who was abducted by unknown persons posing as police offices from an entertainment joint where he was partying with his friends.

Mr. Kibet, graduated from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Jkuat) main campus last year with a Bachelor of Commerce degree and despite not having a formal job, he has been living large according to reports. His father Paul Mutai talking to the local media, said he couldn’t put a hand on exactly what kind of activities his son is involved in but describes him as industrious mind with a knack for making money.

“”My son told me he had started a business with other friends, but he never told me which one. We used to support each other financially. Sadly, he is missing and I am on my way to Nairobi from Narok to find out what has happened,” Mr Mutai is quoted speaking to a local newspaper.

Going by his social media accounts particularly TikTok where he showed off his opulence, Mr. Kibet brags of owning variety of luxury cars including a 2023 pearl white Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 4matic, an Audi Q5, a Toyota Mark X that he recently sold and a Subaru Forester that he often splashed his followers with.

 

A party diehard, things took a sharp turn for Mr. Kibet on Monday when armed men who identified themselves as police officers picked him up from a local entertainment joint for ‘interrogation’ and bundled him into a waiting Subaru car, followed by a double-cab pick-up and has since then not been seen.

After unsuccessful search in surrounding police stations including Thika Police Station, Juja, Ruiru, Central Police Station, his abduction was recorded at Juja Police Station under OB number 74/19/3/24 at 6:58pm.

“We supported each other financially and he is a very generous son whose life was starting to take shape until he was abducted on Monday. I wonder why anyone would want to abduct or harm my son. I have not slept since I was informed that he was missing and I pray that wherever he is, he is safe,” Mr Mutai is quoted by the local newspaper.

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Kasarani Four

The disappearance of Mr. Kibet brings back memories of four men; Frank Obegi, Fred Obare, Moses Nyachae and Elijah Omeka who were disappeared in June 2022 under unclear circumstances only for their lifeless bodies to be found dumped in different places.

Obegi, considered a Twitter bigwig due to his huge following on social media before his mutilated body and those of his three friends were found in Lari Forest, Kiambu County, the stars seemed to have aligned for Obegi and the young man was poised for big money and influence.

Despite his huge social media following and claims of life on the fast lane, to residents of Bogwendo village, Obegi was just another young man who had been sent to university in the hope that he would one someday change the fortunes of his poor family.

Sadly, that was not to be. Not only did the 26-year-old not graduate from university, his life was cut short by unknown people who gouged out his eyes and chopped off his genitals.

From left: Frank Obegi, Fred Obare, Moses Nyachae and Elijah Omeka. The bodies of the four men from Kasarani in Nairobi were found in three different counties two weeks ago.

Obegi, who was the youngest of the four, joined the group by chance during the early days of the Covid- 19 pandemic, when all learning institutions were shut down.  Before the pandemic, Obegi was just another Information Technology student at Multi Media University who was struggling to pay school fees.

However, after joining the group, he became a become a social media star who could splurge tens of thousands of shillings on drinks in a single night.

Omeka, one of the four, who had by then moved from Kasarani to Kamakis on the Eastern Bypass, would join them once in a while, as he would also hang out with another set of “business friends”.

These friends included Joseph Njau Ngendo, the politician whose body was found dumped alongside those of Obegi and Obare in Lari on June 19 2022.

Njau was at that time battling a court case after being arrested while trafficking five kilos of cocaine the year before.  He was reportedly trying to maintain a low profile as he sought an alternative source of income.

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According to police records, the politician was part of a larger heroin distribution network in Nairobi that procured narcotics from a Nigerian who was based in Kampala, Uganda.

Dark Web Crimes

It was not only Omeka who had a separate group of friends dabbling in suspicious activities. Obare too was known to hang out with Jack Anyango, Omeka Obuong, Benjamin Imbai and Brian Oduor, the four men who were kidnapped as they left a restaurant in Kitengela  and murdered last April. It is not known what sort of business Obare was doing with the Kitengela Four, whose disappearance and murders mirror that of the Kasarani Four.

It is in these circumstances that Obegi became a member of a gang that police say was involved in online fraud linked to cryptocurrency and other crimes.

As rightly claimed by their families, the four started out as online writers, like many other Kenyatta University (KU) students who lived in Kahawa Wendani, just across the road from KU’s main campus. Obare reportedly did online writing up to the day he died and mainly whenever he did not have money.

Online writing was however a fall-back plan or a cover, as police have linked the group to an international credit card fraud syndicate that has sucked in so many Kenyan university students that Kasarani and Kahawa Wendani have now been listed as hotspots by law enforcement agencies.

In fact, Obegi, Obare and Nyachae had been arrested on several occasions including a week before their disappearance by officers from Kasarani Police Station but were never charged.

Each year, about 115 million debit and credit cards are stolen in developed countries and posted on the dark web, according to Gemini Advisory, a cybersecurity firm that tracks underground marketplaces and forums.

Experts say the internet is made up of three tiers; the surface web, which is accessible to anyone with data, a communications device and can access a browser such as Google; the deep web, which contains password-protected sites like Facebook or Twitter; and the dark web, which requires special browsers such as Tor, Freenet, Subgraph and Waterfox.

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The difference between the dark web and normal browsers is that users are able to hide their identities. Every day millions of stolen credit cards, cryptocurrency accounts, hacked Gmail and Twitter accounts, purchasable malware and even drugs are sold on the dark web.

International credit card scamming syndicates have identified Kenya as a good location to launder their stolen funds due to its robust financial technology sector, powered by Mpesa. Those who know the Kasarani Four say they were part of local gangs that helped international credit card scamming syndicates to launder their cash. Dozens of other university students living especially in Kahawa Wendani finance their lavish lifestyles this way.

In most cases, money stolen from credit cards in countries such as the US is deposited into accounts held by the Kenyan university students who have a close-knit circle that is difficult to penetrate. The fraudsters then send a fake invoice to their Kenyan counterparts for some fictitious service. After receiving the invoice, the Kenyan associates wire the money indicated on the invoice to some other bank account owned by the fraudsters and earn a commission.

Those who have been in the business long enough and have IT skills do the hacking themselves by purchasing details of stolen credit cards on the dark web or on Telegram. The hacked credit cards are then used to order expensive food at hotels, alcoholic drinks, electronic gadgets and even cars.

This is done quickly lest the owners abroad realise their cards have been hacked and ask their banks to block them.

Kenya has in the recent times tightened its grip on cybercrimes following the disgraceful listing on the grey list by Financial Action Task Force, FATF, international crime watchdog for loose ends in curbing money laundering.

A report from the FATF last year said Kenya mainly faced risks from flows of money linked to terrorism financing from both inside and outside its borders, while cryptocurrencies posed further risks.

Additional reporting by external sources.


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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [[email protected]]

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