Into Mombasa’s car spare parts con syndicate

A fraud syndicate has been swindling citizens out of their hard-earned money by pretending to sell spare parts for motor vehicles in Mombasa.

The cartel is reported to be operating in Jomvu, Changamwe and the Central Business District.

Several people have reported losing millions of shillings, most of them from counties outside Mombasa such as Nairobi, Eldoret and Nakuru.

The scammers, who operate online using social media platforms, have lured unsuspecting Kenyans into believing in their existence and directing their victims to areas where NTV has found there are no dealers of the said spare parts.

Changamwe Sub County Police Commander Kipkoech Beren confirmed that three cases have so far been reported to the station.

He said initial investigations revealed that the suspects did not even live in Mombasa.

“We have discovered that the suspects are using online platforms and we have tried to trace their numbers and one of them has been traced to Kisii County,” Mr Beren said.

Police have issued a stern warning to those involved in the crime, saying their days are numbered and efforts to find them have already begun.

“We are also looking for their associates. We are following the leads of the people they are working with and we will take action against them once they are arrested,” Mr Beren added.

A victim from Kitengela in Kajiado County, who lost almost Sh15,000 to the syndicate, said he found their contacts on social media and ordered the Hybrid ABS brake pump for a Toyota Fielder. Fortunately for him, he sent a delivery man before making the payment.

The man he spoke to confirmed that the part was available, but blocked the number of the delivery man sent to collect the item.

“We really don’t know where these shops are, but for sure these fraudsters are minting people’s money,” said Mr Bakari Legwa.

Mr Abdalla Mtana said he had once fallen victim when the fraudsters, who had gone further to offer to sell him cement, directed him to Sabasaba area in Mombasa to collect his consignment after he had sent Sh15,000.

“I was even given the name of the shop and I sent money. I waited and decided to visit the shop in the evening when my goods were not delivered. I gave his phone number but the shop owner told me he did not know the person I had dealt with,” said Mr Mtana.

Boda boda operators in the area said there had been several instances of people asking for directions to dealers only to end up at homes or scrap metal shops.

Mr Ali Tsimba, one of the operators, said he recently had two customers trying to find a shop in the Mikajuni area, a place he knew well.

“They showed me an M-Pesa transaction of Sh45,000 that they had paid as a deposit for the spare part and had a balance of another Sh40,000. I told them that only garages are available in Mikajuni,” said Mr Tsimba.

He says the man behind the syndicate had refused to take calls from the victims, but when he called using his number, he picked up but hung up when asked to speak to a bodaboda operator for directions to the said shop.

“They had just arrived from Nakuru with Sh40,000 in cash and were ready to collect the item only to find that they had been conned,” he added.

The port city of Mombasa is well known for its car dealerships, which the syndicate uses as a cover to steal from unsuspecting Kenyans.

Motorists have been urged to be vigilant and only deal with licensed and genuine dealers selling motor vehicle spare parts.

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