By Isaac Blessings
Cases of Kenyans and foreign nationals being conned is on the rise and the government is seemingly unable to contain this menace. Prominent individuals have also fallen prey to these so-called wash wash guys.
Former MP Danson Mungatana is one such victim who lost Ksh76 million to West African cons who had promised to multiply the money to Ksh 1 billion.
Here is the story as told by WoK.
Who is Danson Mungatana
Danson Mungatana is a former Member of Parliament representing Garsen constituency. The MP attended Alliance High school where he topped his class in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). After his O-levels, he joined the University of Nairobi where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Trade and Investment law. In 2014 he was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to become the Chair of Kenya Ports Authority. He also served at some point as the Assistant Minister for Medical Services during President Kibaki’s regime.
Losing Money to ‘Wash Wash’ conmen
According to a report first published by the Standard Media, the con scheme took place between March and September 2018. The former MP had first invested some millions into the scheme, and he received four times the amount he had invested. A senior police officer explained to The Nairobian that the conmen first lure victims with original money that they give them to go to a bank or forex bureau to confirm its authenticity. They do this in order to get the victims’ trust who in turn invest a large amount of money.
“For them, it’s the investment they put into their dirty business. Thereafter, the victim will be convinced that the dollars are real and can be found. So a victim goes back but this time, they ask for more money. That’s the trick the MP fell for,” explained the senior police officer.
After tasting the sweetness of the money and confirming it was real, Mungatana went back and this time he wanted to join the billionaire club. He gave the West Africans his Mercedes car to sell in order to get money to buy the ‘wash wash’ chemicals for turning the papers into original billions. The conmen kept on asking for more money forcing Mungatana to sell his Karen land to top up. But by August 2018, he had not received his billions and he started smelling something fishy. He reported the matter to the Nairobi Area Police where police officers recovered the Mercedes vehicle. He however refused to record a statement for fear of exposing himself to ridicule. He however chose to direct the police to the con artist’s operation house situated along Brookside Drive in Westlands, Nairobi. Police recovered Ksh 1 billion in fake American dollars which was supposed to be handed over to Mungatana.
The West African con men
The conmen involved in the scheme included Abdoulaye Tamba Kouro and his son Abdala Tamba who are from Mali. A Kenyan known as Anthony Mangangi Munyiva was also involved in the scheme. These conmen have invested in money printing equipment, paper cutters, chemicals, masks and foil which police recovered. The police later raided the Muthaiga home of a Cameroonian, Arafat Omar alias Rashid Omar where they recovered Ksh 52 million, several passports, a firearm and a fishy paraphernalia associated with witchcraft famously known as ‘juju.’ The police also revealed that the con game involves prominent Kenyan politicians from Western Kenya – one an MP and the other a government technocrat.
After the arrest of the conmen and recovery of the ‘juju’ items by the police, news began to go round that Danson Mungatana had invested his money in a witchdoctor who had promised to multiply the money making him an overnight billionaire. He however came out to publicly dismiss the reports stating that he fell prey to an investment scheme which was created by foreigners in partnership with local prominent leaders.
“I did not want to be an overnight billionaire as claimed. That’s not what my mother taught me, I have been working hard all my life. About eight years ago, I lost a lot of money in a fake investment oil scheme that was run by Abdalla Tamba. Abdalla and his partner came and told me to invest money so we would buy oil”, he told the media.
“The first and second round there was profit, but in the third round, the foreigners simply disappeared and went with the money until recently when I saw him arrested. The suspects were arrested on September 28th 2018. He was later freed in Kenya, which I came to learn when I saw him on TV after the police displayed him in public. I submitted myself as they had asked if anyone who had been conned could report to them. It was not only me who suffered but there were a lot of prominent people who fell prey to the scheme as it seemed genuine,” the former assistant minister added.