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Thieves now drugging M-Pesa agents before robbing them – police

Police in Nairobi have arrested two men suspected to be serial fraudsters targeting M-Pesa shops in the city.

Police said they had received several complaints from owners of M-Pesa shops who operate in and around Kiamaiko area near Huruma estate.

The M-Pesa agents cornered the suspects on Wednesday afternoon after one of them tried to withdraw money from a shop.

Starehe Deputy OCPD Rogers Bosire suspects that the two are using scopolamine, a hazardous drug that eliminates free will and can wipe out the memory of its victims. Majority of the victims narrated how they had no memory when they were being robbed.

Lela Abdi who operates one of the affected shops said that two men approached her shop to withdraw money.

“They told me they wanted to withdraw more cash and I suspected that there was something fishy about them, so I told them the transaction had a delay and they should wait,” said Ms Abdi.

FRAUDSTERS

She added that the two suspects became anxious and left. After a few minutes they came back with people who identified themselves as police officers and wanted to know why I had not given them their money which they had withdrawn.

“The officers started harassing me telling me to give the two their money which they had withdrawn.”

The commotion attracted people who recognized them as the suspected fraudsters.

When they saw things had become thick, they got in their car and started driving away but the irate crowd blocked their way. They, however, managed to escape to Huruma police post.

According to Bosire, the two were arrested and taken to Pangani police station for interrogation.

“I can confirm that we are holding two suspects who were arraigned in court on Thursday morning and we have requested the court to add the police more time for investigations to be completed,” said Bosire.

TWO SUSPECTS

According to Mr Bosire, police confiscated several identification cards, SIM cards and mobile phones and detained the vehicle they were driving.

The police boss has now warned M-Pesa attendants not to have idle conversations with their customers when they are serving them. This is because several of the complainants claimed that they had no idea how they gave the suspects money.

Miret Marie, who lost more than Sh200,000 on Saturday, said the two suspects went to her shop and all she recalls was a colleague grabbing her phone when she went to the next shop to ask for money to top up what they had withdrawn.

When they went back, the two had disappeared.

Police could not confirm the amount of money the victims lost but they say it runs to hundreds of thousands of shillings.

What puzzled the agents was how the suspects had several original identification cards with different names, number but the face was the same.