A man who was shot dead in Mirema Drive estate, Samuel Mugoh Muvota, was the head of an ATM and SIM swapping syndicate in the country.
Detectives based at the Directorate Criminal Investigation’s Corporate Communications & Public Affairs Unit have revealed that Muvota’s skeletons are dating as far back as 2011, when he started stealing from victims at ATM’s in various banks.
According to sleuths, he graduated to a full-time thug who hired beautiful, expensive-looking women and deployed them as drinks spiking agents at various high end entertainment spots.
By the time he met his death on Monday after six bullets were pumped into his body by an unknown assailant, was a multi millionaire with several real estate properties scattered across the city.
“… a fleet of vehicles and seven wives all living lavishly from proceeds of stupefied patrons in clubs most frequented by revellers. Interestingly, none of the wives suspected that Muvota lived a double life,” read the police report.
Muvota’s trade is said to have been lucrative that he had recruited over 50 voluptuous damsels into his ‘Pishori’ administering trade, that has led to broken marriages, left many men admitted in hospitals and others dead from an overdose of a stupefying drug only identified as ‘Tamuu’ supposed to be administered to patients suffering from mental disorders.
“After 11 years in the highly dangerous trade that has in recent days targeted patrons looking for entertainment in high-end establishments including top public servants, businessmen, politicians and men of the cloth, Muvota seemed to have made more enemies than friends,” read the report.
Detectives suspect that one of the women he had employed or an accomplice must have given him in to criminals after a deal gone sour.
According to Economic Crimes detectives who have previously handled his cases, Muvota was arrested for over 30 times in the past 11 years on fraud related charges and had been in and out of almost all the courts in the city and in Kiambu county.
He was widely known by cyber security specialists in the banking sector for the many times he fraudulently accessed clients’ accounts at city ATM’s sweeping the accounts clean.
Detectives believe that the thug worked with crooked banking officials who assisted him clean up accounts in a matter of minutes. He particularly had a preference for Co-operative bank ATMs.
The slippery thug also had connections at several police stations and whenever detectives launched a manhunt for him, he would be tipped off in time.
It is said that Muvota began his trade in 2011 by hanging around city ATM’s and offering to assist customers who had difficulties withdrawing money from their accounts.
Working with crooked banking officials who would jam the teller machines once a client inserted his ATM card, Muvota would approach the client offering to assist.
He would insert the clients’ card then pretend to be facing away and ask the client to key in his password and first confirm the balance before withdrawing the amount they wished.
However, since the machines eject the ATM card first, he would get hold of the card as the unsuspecting client waited for the cash.
“At this point, Muvota would swap the card with another and hand the happy client a fake card. Woe unto the account holder if the account had a fat balance since Muvota, would then visit different ATM booths withdrawing cash until the accounts were swept clean,” stated DCI.
In a well orchestrated scheme, Muvota would strike past 5 in the evening when he was sure that account holders would not walk back to their banks to inquire what was happening to their accounts, since messages of withdrawals they had not made would keep streaming into their phones.
The ever-busy hotlines operated by banks most of which go unanswered, wouldn’t be of any help to the helpless clients, as alerts of unsanctioned transactions kept coming all night.
By the time the victims of the well-coordinated fraud visited their banks the following day to make inquiries into the fraudulent transactions, they would be met with apologies from equally hapless tellers.
Muvota who was clearly ahead of the cyber security experts in the banking sector, took advantage of products introduced by banks to make transactions easy for their clients.
In 2018, at an ATM in Kayole, he transferred Sh700,000 in a single transaction from an account of a woman he was assisting through Pesalink, to one of his fraudulent accounts, leaving a balance of only Sh700.
“The woman had walked to the ATM booth to check whether a loan she had applied at the bank had been deposited in her account when she met the Muvota. When she learnt of what had happened, she collapsed and died.
“Such was the modus operandi of Samuel Muvota, who at the time of his death had graduated to being the mastermind of the pishori syndicate in the country, targeting moneyed patrons in the hope of a happy ending,” it added.
However, the men ended up drugged and some were found by their families naked wearing condoms, while inside their cars outside the gates to their homes.