On March 5, 2022, Emmanuel Gift Masinde made the headlines after he appeared on the cover page of the Saturday Nation on allegations of defrauding at least 7 women a total of Ksh3.5 million. Across the blogosphere, the story earned him the tag ‘Twitter Swindler’ even as he appeared to distance himself from the allegations, claiming the publication was after tarnishing his name.
The 27-year-old is said to be a sharply dressed man who rides through life on the fast lane thanks to ‘intricate connections’. Masinde is quick at getting finer details of career women, most of whom appear desperate for a man to settle down with. All he does is start a conversation on Twitter, which ends up in private DM chats. From there, matters get intimate.
Masinde packages himself as a man of means and showers the ladies with promises they can only dream about.
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According to a female lawyer who allegedly lost over Ksh1.2 million, Masinde told her that his family runs a lucrative chopper business that hires out helicopters to prominent persons. He added that his mother is a former National Lands Commission (NLC) official and that the father was a CEO at an energy corporation. He said that he manages the family’s vast business empire that also includes a construction company.
At one time, Masinde asked her for funds to insure a chopper. According to the lawyer, Masinde alleged that his mother’s bank account had been frozen due to corruption allegations at NLC. He assured her that their family lawyer would get everything under control. Armed with fake documents and bank cheques, Masinde managed to obtain the said funds from the female lawyer.
Another lady identified as Nicole who works as a tax director is said to have lost over Ksh1 million to Masinde. According to the lady, they first interacted on Twitter where Masinde had posed as a potential client seeking her services. It took Masinde a few months to strike a romantic affair with the lady.
On claims that he had imported a BMW X-5 but had been held up at the port due to various charges, Masinde asked the lady to send him some money to which they agreed he would sell the car to her at a good price.
“Gift asked me to assist him in clearing the storage costs of a car he had imported at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) as the money would act as a deposit for the car, which he had planned to sell to me at a fair price,” she told Nation.
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Nicole took a Ksh936,000 loan and sent the money to Masinde. She also sent a total of Ksh65,000 a few days later to cater for paperwork and waivers. Little did she know that the car never existed and all the documents held by Masinde were fake.
A female lecturer also alleged that Masinde had told her that he dealt in construction works. Their relationship blossomed after exchanging tweets.
At one point, the ‘Twitter Swindle’ even told her that the Toyota Vitz she drove was below her standards. She informed him of her plans to upgrade but Masinde told her to keep the money because he was going to surprise her.
Before he could get her a new car, Masinde claimed he had fallen sick and sent her photos of his worsening health condition. He claimed his frail appearance was due to acute myeloid leukaemia, a type of blood cancer that weakens the immune system. Touched by his misery, the unsuspecting lecturer sent him a total of Ksh550,000 for medical expenses.
In a separate incident, Masinde is also said to have received a total of Ksh188,000 from a female nursing student who studies abroad. After they began chatting, he is reported to have sent the student Ksh4,000 to buy something for herself.
“Gift is very good at what he does. He made me feel so loved. He was very keen on tiny details about me and really had a way with words that I melted away,” says the student.
Later on, Masinde asked for Ksh9,000 from the student in order to clear his cargo being held on an unspecified border. After receiving the money, Masinde is said to have stopped the conversation with the student until months later when he came back, asking for Ksh430,000 to pay his sister’s hospital bill.
He was willing to give out a Range Rover as collateral but the nursing student declined. As they continued chatting, Masinde said the hospital bills overwhelming him. This prompted the student to wire a total of Ksh188,000 in separate transactions.
Masinde’s side of the story
Through his Twitter account, Masinde has rubbished the claims, saying that Nation Media journalist Leon Lidigu was ‘clout chasing’ and mudslinging him.
The 27-year-old went further to expose screenshots of romantic private conversations he had with one of the ladies who allegedly seduced him. He claimed he would risk exposing nude photos that he had received from one lady.
Additionally, Masinde claimed he never had an interview with Leon Lidigu as published and revealed a conversation in which he appeared to turn down the invitation. Masinde also shared a copy of a demand letter addressed to his mother written by Rene and Hans Advocates which indicated he received Ksh1.2 million that went to servicing a family loan.
“It is our understanding that on 25th February 2022, one of the victims who is your son aforesaid had also solicited funds from, had a telephone conversation with yourself regarding this issue. On the said date, your daughter known as Mitchel Wanjiku Maina called our client and committed to have the said monies paid to our client. In the said telephone conversation with our client, your daughter indicated that the solicited funds were utilized for purposes of servicing a family loan, which was a completely different purpose from the initial reason behind the issuance of the said funds. The conduct aforesaid amounts to soliciting monies under false pretence, which is criminal conduct,” reads the demand letter
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