Moses Kirango and his wife Mary Wambui lost a whooping Ksh 19m to wash wash.
The story that got the couple entangled in what is popularly known as the wash wash business — a money laundering scheme — started after they received Sh13.9 million compensation from the National Irrigation Board after their land was used to construct a dam in Kirinyaga.
Wambui had gone to settle a Sh90,000 soft loan she had received from her cousin to enroll her daughter in a university.
Unknown to her, the cousin, who was aware of the compensation, had been scheming on how she could get a share of the millions from the onset.
MULTIPLYING THE CASH
When Wambui and her husband went to repay the debt, Muthoni introduced them to a money cleaning scheme, which she explained would “make each note give birth to another”.
She introduced them to a police officer friend by the name George, who worked at Dela Rue, who ‘understood’ the processes.
The first batch was the least, Sh400, 000, but George changed his mind and refused to take the money, saying cheap chemicals would spoil his business. He wanted Sh1.2 million.
Gitari withdrew another Sh800,000 from Equity Bank, Kerugoya branch and topped it up with the previous cash he had given his wife to deliver to the said officer.
They went and picked the chemicals and proceeded to George’s house to ‘make money’. After ‘washing’ Sh10,000, he was told the money was not getting properly ‘cleaned’.
The ‘wash wash’ officer made calls and claimed to have been informed that the chemical was contaminated. He asked the couple to withdraw an additional Sh400, 000.
Gitari withdrew the money and on that night their cash ‘doubled’ to Sh800,000. Some Sh100, 000 was to be paid to the ‘cleaners’ as service fees.
What a lucrative business? Gitari thought when he took the Sh700,000 to the bank and the cash was accepted.
He did not hesitate to give more cash to be cleaned when the ‘officer’ suggested it.
The next batch involved more cash and this time round, Gitari withdrew Sh3 million believing it would give birth to much more.
As soon as the cleaning started, one of the ‘cleaners’ identified as Sammy fell down and fainted. Gitari was informed that the chemicals have been contaminated with dust and were even affecting the operators.
He was then ordered to go home with the consignment but with strict instructions not to open it.
“When I took the consignment the following day, a furious George insisted that I had opened the bag because the papers were spoilt. I admitted to having opened it. The lot went to waste,” Gitari told the court.
Gitari said George asked for another Sh1.2 million to buy chemicals and after getting the cash, he excused himself from the process and left Mugambi to take charge.
On a later date, he was asked for Sh3 million to pay an Indian for storage fee and since they had exhausted their funds, they borrowed from Benson Gichae a sum of Sh3.1 million.
“They took us to a place near City Park where we continued with the process but the money was too much. Mugambi said we would proceed the following day, and so we left everything,” he narrated.
That was the last they heard from any of the conmen.
It was after going missing that Gitaeri realised he had been conned.
The couple reported to the police before laying a trap to arrest the accused.
“Wambui called Mugambi and claimed to have some money that she wanted washed. He asked for Sh1 million but was arrested when he showed up to pick the cash,” Gitari said.
In her defence, Muthoni distanced herself from the suspects claiming the couple were acting in malice after she raised complainants that their daughter was having an affair with her husband.
– The Star/ Corazon Wafula