Conmen who impersonated President Uhuru
Conmen who impersonated President Uhuru

Joseph Waswa and Gilbert Kirunja are the new faces of conmanship in Kenya. This is after they mimicked President Uhuru Kenyatta’s voice and conned a wealthy businessman out of millions of shillings. A conman is someone who cheats or tricks someone by gaining their trust and persuading them to believe something that is not true.

Joseph Waswa
Joseph Waswa

Waswa and Kirunja are part of a group that has been accused of conning Sameer billionaire and founder Naushad Nerauli of Sh80 million.

The 7 suspects in court
The 7 suspects in court

They, are however, small potatoes in the world, when compared with some cons who have wreaked even greater havoc around the world. Here is a list of cons:

  1. Frank William Abagnale Jnr

Probably the most popular worldwide after his exploits were captured in the movie Catch me If you can, starring Leonardo Dicaprio.

Frank_W._Abagnale /Commons Wikimedia

Between the age of 15-21 years, Frank had assumed 8 identities, including a pilot and a doctor. He was a master at forging checks.

2. Joshua Waiganjo

This man impersonated an assistant police commissioner for five years. At the height of his exploits, Joshua had even accompanied senior officers in a helicopter after an attack in Baragoi.

Joshua Waiganjo
Joshua Waiganjo

3. Victor Lustig

This man ‘sold’ the Eiffel Tower twice. Yes, you read that right! In 1925, the Eiffel Tower was a rusting and ill-maintained behemoth. Lustig took advantage of that and gathered six metal dealers, telling them that as a government official, he was tasked with selling it.

And he did. Not once but twice! He also managed to scam famous mobster Al Capone of $5,000 around 1930. That was not small cash back in the day.

4. Fake Queen of Sheba fools Kenyans Dibla Amelia George

Dibla Amelia George claimed to be the Queen of Sheba when she came to Nairobi in the first week of December in 2001.

She booked herself at the Grand Regency and said she had come to Kenya in search of diamonds and that she would invest 15 billion shillings of her own money.

She ended up amassing a bill of Sh3.4 million at the hotel, that she couldn’t pay. She was released on a Sh500k bond and was never seen again in Kenya, as she was whisked to the airport.

5. Charles Ponzi

The man who gave us the term Ponzi scheme would promise his clients profits of 50% within 45 days or 100% within 90 days. The early investors were paid through the money of late investors. He earned over $1 million (Sh100 million) within months, but his scheme fell through after a year.

Charles_Ponzi:Courtesy/Commons Wikimedia

6. George Parker

This man ‘sold’ the Brooklyn Bridge so many times to naive foreigners. He was also successful at selling the original Madison Square Garden and the Statue of Liberty! Yes, there are people who are that naive!

7. Bernard Madoff
Bernard, who was an investment banker by profession, admitted to being an operator of a Ponzi Scheme He started the firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.

BernardMadoff:Courtesy/Commons Wikimedia

Investors lost about USD 18 billion(180 billion shillings) through his scam.

8. Artur Margaryan and Artur Sargsyan

The two heavy-set Armenians hoodwinked many Kenyans in 2006. The two international criminals were even able to get “appointed” as Deputy Commissioners of Police.

Not only that, they had VIP passes for JKIA, drove diplomatic cars and carried guns openly.

9. Gilbert Deya

This week there was a story of a South African pastor ‘raising’ a man from the dead. Well, he is not the only ‘miracle’ pastor. Kenya had its own miracle pastor in Gilbert Deya. He claimed that his 56-year-old wife, Eddah Odera, had given birth to 13 “miracle babies” between 1999 and 2004. All these ‘without sexual contact with a man’.

Gibert Deya
Gibert Deya

The miracle babies turned out to be part of a major human trafficking syndicate involving two clinics in Nairobi.

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