Alice Kithome is a businesswoman who was conned Ksh 5 million by someone close to her in what could have been a lucrative deal.
The businesswoman was tricked into a fake tender by her brother’s friend requiring her to supply maize worth Ksh 5 million.
Kithome purchased the maize and transported to her potential buyers only for her to be conned. The fraudsters were arrested but were later released after spending a day in the cells.
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Here is her story as told by WoK.
In an interview on Lynn Ngugi show, the businesswoman explained that most people who are conned are well known to their perpetrators.
This, she explained, was because she was conned of her money by her brother’s friend who also happened to be their neighbour.
“Someone who wants to con you is someone that knows you, knows your background, knows your job and how much they are targeting
“They will give you something realistic which they know you are able to manage, and even if you can’t, they are sure you will walk into a bank and get a loan,” Kithome said.
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Kithome runs a company with her younger brother. The con game started when her brother was introduced to a ‘maize miller’ by his friend.
Having introduced the guy has his close friend, the mastermind of the con always showed up with the guy during meetings.
After a while, another guy was introduced into the scheme by the maize miller.
“They meet with my brother and the third guy said he works at Busia as a maize seller. They discussed the maize business and all of a sudden, he talks of a tender to supply maize,” Kithome said.
It was then when the man talked of the tender being advertised and mentioned that the client was not able to do the manual work of sourcing the maize.
Kithome stated that the man said they were looking at sub-contracting someone who had financial capability to handle the business.
The idea was to buy half of the required maize then the suppliers would be paid the full amount once the delivery is done so that they buy the remaining batch.
After the meeting, Kithome later visited the company’s, Green Grain, offices in South C and went through the contract before signing it after a few more visits.
“You know you’ll not go there just once and sign the contract… We did the paper work and everything that would be required and we signed the contract. It was now up to us to supply the maize,” she said.
The contract required Kithome to supply 3,200 bags of maize with a bag of maize at the time going for Ksh 2,300.
Kithome entered the deal through her company and applied for an overdraft of Ksh 5 million for purposes of handling the business.
“I got the money because I was in charge of finances and we started buying the maize. We bought the maize quickly because we wanted to finish the business and move to the next one,” she added.
Kithome and her team would buy maize from Busia in trips and offload them at a rented silo in Dandora, Nairobi.
They did six trips before going back to the company to ask for the full amount since they had already done half of the order as agreed.
As they wait for the sixth trip of maize to arrive, she got a call from a woman at the Dandora silo who claimed that her maize were being loaded to a truck.
At the silo, when a client has rented a store, keys to the stores are kept in the office; Kithome believes officials at the stores were compromised.
“How these Green Grain guys and convinced the office to let them take the maize means the Dandora people had been compromised. By the time I got to the store, the maize had gone
“When I got there, they all disappeared; their car was there and I confronted them and when we couldn’t agree, I went to the office and they told me they claimed the maize was theirs and wanted to take it.”
Kithome took a while in the office and by the time she walked out, the guys from Green Grains has left leaving behind about 40 bags of maize out of 1,600 bags.
At this point, they were not answering their phones forcing Kithome to involve the police.
“I drove to Buru Buru Police Station, we got an O.B and told them the ordeal, we had all the documents and they promised to look for those guys,” she said.
After reporting the incident, they left Buru Buru Police Station for South C where the fraudsters had their office.
“We found the office closed but because it was a Saturday, we assumed maybe they work half-day or they don’t open at all,” Kithome stated.
They returned to the Police Station and had a meeting with the OCS who promised to look after them.
It took Kithome, with the police assistance, four days to apprehend the suspects.
“On the fourth day, they were traced to somewhere along Kangundo Road. They were enjoying themselves. They were arrested and taken to Buru Buru,” she said.
While Kithome went home expecting justice to be served, they suspects were released from police custody hours later.
“When I learnt that the guys were not locked up I didn’t know where to turn, I’m in the police station, somewhere I expect help… The OCS didn’t want to engage with us and I was later told they paid some money to be released,” Kithome said.
It was later established that the fraudsters had looked for a place to sell the maize and disappear with the money.
To date, Kithome has never recovered her money although the suspects are walking scot free.
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