A man was on Monday charged with stealing over Ksh700,000 from two Members of Parliament after swapping their mobile sim cards, transferring funds to himself and taking loans from various mobile money lending apps.

Bonface Kipngetich Kirui, 34, who appeared before Milimani Chief Magistrate Lucas Onyina denied several other charges of unauthorized interference with computer data, stealing and being in possession of identity cards belonging to six different persons.

In count one of the charges filed in court, the SIM swap fraud suspect was charged that on the night of April 12, 2023, at an unknown place in the Republic of Kenya, he stole Ksh547,567 from Kenya Commercial Bank(KCB) belonging to MP Kipchumba.

“On diverse dates between March 23 and 26, 2023, at unknown place and time within the Republic of Kenya, Kirui jointly with others not before court stole Ksh133,785 from M-pesa account, Timiza account, Mshwari account, Vooma App, KCB Mpesa account and KCB bank account of Mp Mule,” the charge sheet stated in the second count.

Kirui was also charged that on April 12, 2023, at 1717hours at an unknown place and place within the Republic of Kenya, intentionally and without authority changed the Safaricom details of MP Kipchumba causing unauthorised interference to the Safaricom computer data of the politician.

He was further accused of being unlawfully in possession of identity cards belonging to six different persons namely Phanice Asiko Otanga, Robert Mogeni Maraburi, Alex Mwebi Magena, Kevin Kipkoech Bett, Emmah Cherono and Joyce Mutete Kimuya during his arrest on April 27, 2023.

In one of the complaints lodged with the police by MP Kipchumba, he claims that he fell victim to a sim card swapping syndicate that left his accounts dry on the night of April 12, 2022.

He claims that on the fateful night, his Safaricom line suddenly lost its network as from 5 pm.

According to the MP, he thought it was normal network failure and when the condition persisted, he asked his personal assistant to call his number to find out if the call could go through.

However, to his surprise, the call went through and was answered by another person. This prompted him to call Safaricom customer care and he was informed that his line was sim swapped at 5:17 pm.

The Mp who is also an Advocate, later called two banks where his accounts are domiciled, namely National Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank to confirm whether his bank account had been compromised.

The response received from Kenya Commercial Bank was that someone got access to his account and transferred a sum of Ksh617,567 to a bank account and various Safaricom numbers.

On April 13, 2023, the MP visited his branch at Kipande house where he obtained a customer statement and later reported the matter at Parliament Police Station for police investigations.

The DPP through state counsel Anderson Gikunda informed the magistrate they intend to oppose the release of the suspect on bond pending hearing and determination of the fraud cases.

Gikunda told the court that Kirui is a regular visitor at the courts since he has other pending criminal cases over links to an underground web of fraudsters syphoning money from bank accounts.

Kirui’s syndicate which operates in Bomet County is said to be targeting bank accounts operated by a leading bank in the country and is reported to have fraudulently acquired money from accounts belonging to unsuspecting customers on mobile banking platforms.

Magistrate Onyina however ordered the accused person to be detained until Wednesday, March 10, 2023, when his bail application will be canvassed.


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