The Directorate of Criminal Investigations has uncovered a high-level group of suspected fraudsters who are believed to have received close to Sh500 million using a loan facility offered by Safaricom.
Fuliza is a continuous overdraft service that allows Safaricom MPesa customers to complete transactions even though they do not have enough money.
According to the DCI, the telco lost the money as a result of a well-planned scam by eight suspects situated in Nakuru and Trans-Nzoia.
Seven of the suspects were taken into custody at a flat in Kiamunyi, Nakuru County while the alleged mastermind was taken into custody after an officer-led operation in Kitale, Trans-Nzoia.
Thousands of SIM cards from Safaricom and Airtel were discovered in the possession of the suspects, who were aged between 24 and 30.
Sleuths said that the suspects registered the SIM cards with fraudulently created identity card numbers before borrowing money through the service.
Investigations into the syndicate commenced after Fuliza managers noticed an unexpected increase in loan applications. They submitted a report to the Banking Fraud Investigations Unit (BFIU) in August 2022.
“The uptakes were way above their performance scale and the borrowers were not repaying the loans,” DCI said.
Investigators from the BFIU reported that in January 2022, more than 123,000 new mobile phone numbers opted into Fuliza and applied for loans.
After that, attempts to contact the clients were unsuccessful because the SIM cards had either been fraudulently vacated or turned off.
Further investigations revealed that one of the suspects had registered the SIM cards fraudulently using the National Registration Bureau, through which he created the fake IDs.
According to preliminary findings, he created the numbers and registered the lines before selling them to his collaborators in Nakuru, who would then carry out the fraud.
Detectives also discovered that some of the cards had been registered as Safaricom agents, allowing the borrowed money to be transferred to the people’s personal bank accounts while appearing to be MPesa float.
One ID would be used to register at least five SIM cards, DCI revealed.
Through the alleged deception, the suspects in Kiamunyi purchased two brand-new Subarus, a Toyota Mark X, a Toyota Probox, and two motorcycles.
HOW FULIZA LOST CLOSE TO SH 500 MILLION TO SCAMMERS
Detectives have uncovered a high level fraud syndicate where scammers have obtained close to Sh500 million through a popular mobile phone platform supported by mobile communication service provider, Safaricom. pic.twitter.com/92qwh9700n
— DCI KENYA (@DCI_Kenya) February 8, 2023
Six laptops, more than 40 mobile phones, seven routers, and various Safaricom lines were also found by the detectives along with 14 mobicom phones that were used to register MPesa user SIM cards.
Along with other exhibits, the sleuths also discovered more than 1000 Safaricom subscriber registration forms, 200 ATM cards from all major banks, and car agreements.
The suspects are currently being interrogated before they are presented in court.