Inside Politics

Murdered Kasarani four lived life on fast lane, friends reveal

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022 04:59 | By
Relatives of one of the murdered Kasarani friends at City Mortuary Nairobi yesterday. PHOTO/ William Oeri

The four friends whose mutilated bodies were found in forests over the weekend lived large, and if the stories by their close friends is anything to go by, their elimination was a matter of when, not if.

Frank Obegi, who was a popular blogger, Elijah Omeka, Fred Mokaya and Moses Amenya went missing on Tuesday last week in Kasarani area in Nairobi, before their bodies were found in Ngubi Forest in Lari, Kiambu and Kiserian in Kajiado County.

They had been accused of being behind a cryptocurrency fraud mostly targeting victims outside the country, with reports indicating that just before they disappeared, they had fleeced their latest victim of Sh1 million in bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a digital currency which operates free of any central control or the oversight of banks, and tech-savvy criminals have taken advantage of this to hack into people’s bank accounts, buy bitcoins, and leave little or no trail.

According to the US Federal Trade Commission, cryptocurrency scammers have stolen over Sh100 billion from 46,000 people since the beginning of 2021.

It has become popular due to the lack of banks to flag suspicious transactions, irreversible transfers and novice investors who are unfamiliar with how crypto works.

The bodies of Obegi, Omeka and Amenya were found in Lari while the badly mutilated body of Mokaya was discovered in Kiserian. 

Mokaya reportedly disappeared soon after he went to Kasarani Police Station to report that his friends were missing.

ATM fraud

Last year, Obegi and Amenya are said to have escaped death narrowly at a popular bar in Kasarani when they were saved by police officers. 

After they were released from custody, they relocated to their rural homes briefly, according to close friends.

“I am not surprised Obegi died in that manner. He who lives by the sword dies by the sword,” a friend said.

Another close friend identified on Twitter as “Babu Moja” said he and Obegi’s brother had warned him about his behaviour, but he never listened, adding that the gang began with ATM fraud before graduating to cryptocurrency.

“His brother Leyton and some of us at Seasons warned him several times… Rest easy bro Frank Obegi. Guys, kuleni jasho yenu tu, scamming won’t help at all,” he wrote.

He insinuated that they could have been killed by associates of a person they had scammed.

“Mose (Amenya) is believed to have been the mastermind. The guy went on a spree of vengeful deadly mission to get his money back,” he wrote.

He, however, asked police to investigate the murders.

“Nobody should be subjected to such kind of torture, no matter the crime he has committed,” he added.

Account deleted

Another resident said Obegi had two credit cards, both which did not have a PIN, which he would swipe in excess of Sh10,000 at any given time. According to the receipts, the card owners were foreigners.

A former supervisor in a restaurant on Thika Road said Obegi would frequent the lounge and would only sit at the VIP section where a beer goes for Sh500.

“Everyone loved him there,” he said.

According to Obegi’s family members, his social media account had been deleted in unclear circumstances before his death and he had been offline for about five days.

Obegi’s brother, Leyton Obegi, said he last spoke to him on Tuesday, June 14.

“I got a call from one of Frank’s friend’s girlfriend that she had positively identified my brother’s body at the mortuary,” Leyton said.

The three bodies were discovered on Sunday at Monkey Corner area, about 300 metres from the Mutarakwa-Mai Mahiu Road.

Lari Sub-County Police Commander Anderson Furaha said the bodies were naked and severely mutilated.

“The victims were killed elsewhere. They had injuries in the neck and one body had been eaten by wild animals. Three black polythene bags were also recovered at the scene,” Furaha said.

Credit cards

The traders operating along the highway – a 14km stretch covered by Ngubi Forest on both sides  – said more than 15 bodies had been recovered in the area this year.

“Most of the bodies are normally naked with body parts such as the genitals and eyes removed. They normally have ropes or wires around their necks,” said a curio shop operator.

“We feel very unsafe and we demand that police officers should heighten patrols along this road,” said Roberto Kimani.

During the opening of the DCI Forensic Laboratory on June 13, President Uhuru Kenyatta said mobile money transfers had resulted in an increase in cybercrimes, and ordered for the strengthening of the Cybercrime Unit to deal with crimes that involve misuse of technology.

On June 16, university students Francis Maina and Zellic Alusa, who are suspected of hacking credit cards and using them to purchase bitcoins and converting them to Kenyan currency, were arrested in Nakuru.

Rift Valley DCI boss Mwenda Meme said the two were part of a gang behind the hacking of financial institutions, including banks.

“They operate in the country and abroad, and usually create fake email accounts which they use to hack credit cards of victims, most of whom live abroad. They use the cash to buy bitcoins that are then converted to Kenyan currency,” said Meme.

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