Varsity students accused of KES 449 million Fuliza fraud freed on KES 400,000 bail
A Nairobi court has granted cash bail to eight suspects accused of stealing KES 449 million from a city bank using a sophisticated Fuliza loan fraud scheme.
The suspects who are students from Egerton and Laikipia universities were charged with conspiracy to defraud Safaricom PLC of KES 449 million between July and August 2022.
They were also charged with computer fraud, unauthorized access to computer data, computer service interception, and money laundering.
The suspects, according to the charge sheet, used their mobile phones and laptops to hack into Safaricom’s Fuliza system and create multiple accounts using forged identity cards.
They then used the accounts to apply for Fuliza loans ranging from KES 50,000 to KES 100,000, and transferred the money to other accounts before withdrawing it through agents.
Fuliza is a Safaricom mobile overdraft service that allows customers to complete MPESA transactions even if they do not have enough funds in their M-PESA account.
The Banking Fraud Investigations Unit (BFIU) discovered the fraud in August 2022 after fund managers noticed an unusual spike in Fuliza loan uptakes that were above the performance scale and the borrowers were not repaying the loans.
Detectives tracked the suspects down to various locations in Nairobi, Nakuru, and Nyeri counties, where they recovered several mobile phones, laptops, SIM cards, and identity cards used in the scam.
They requested that their cash bail be reduced from KES 1 million each because they are students who rely on their parents for support.
The prosecution did not object to their application but requested stringent conditions to ensure that they did not interfere with witnesses or evidence.
The case will be mentioned for pre-trial directions on February 27.