A magistrate court in Othaya on Wednesday heard how a man impersonated a veterinary surgeon to obtain a job as a lecturer at a veterinary college in Kenya before an M-Pesa transaction unmasked him.
Dr Henry Kibunja of Othaya School of Livestock Breeding, Artificial Insemination and Dairy Management, said the accused, Geoffrey Wanjala applied for the job following an advertisement early this year where his “strong credentials” earned him an interview.
Dr Kibunja told Senior Resident Magistrate Benmark Ekhumbi that Mr Wanjala who passed himself off as Dr Donald Lubembe sailed through because of strong academic achievements and experience as a veterinary surgeon.
He said they soon afterwards offered him the job as a trainer in animal health on a three-year contract basis that was subject to renewal based on performance.
In his evidence, Dr Kibunja said the accused had declined to produce his national identification card to complete his appointment contending that it had gone lost and was seeking for a replacement.
The court heard that nonetheless the college gave him the job since they were in dire need of a trainer.
However, a month later while off duty, the accused person requested the school to send him Sh300 via M-Pesa.
Dr Kibunja said it was through the transaction they realised they could be dealing with an imposter since the names in the M-Pesa transaction differed with the ones he was using in the institution.
Dr Kibunja said they secretly initiated investigations where they contacted the Kenya Veterinary Board requesting for his biodata and registration status.
The court heard that the photo fished from Dr Lumbembe’s profile at the board did not match face of the accused person and that is when they called in the police to launch investigations and apprehend him.
Dr Kibunja reported that they had to repeat the lessons he was taking, as he was not versed with course to the detriment of his students who were set to sit for examinations.
Kenya Veterinary Board, CEO, Dr Mugambi Ragwa, in his testimony said Dr Lumbembe was registered with the board as a veterinary surgeon but the accused names did not feature in their registers.
He said the accused was not legalized to practice veterinary services nor train the same given that he was not a registered member with the board.
Dr Mugambi told the court that they had already contacted Dr Lubembe who was currently in the United States of America and had expressed willingness to come and testify.
In his account, Dr Thomas Muthui, Dean of Students at Animal Health and Industrial Training Institute (AHITI) confirmed that the accused was a student there between 2002 and 2004.
He said Mr Wanjala was pursuing a certificate course in animal health and production where he passed with credit.
The accused is facing seven counts of impersonation, forgery and obtaining money by false pretence where he is alleged to have obtained Sh40,500 from Hanniel Kibue at Kairu village in Othaya pretending he was capable of treating his cattle and procuring him an incubator.
Mr Wanjala is alleged to have forged Dr Lubembe’s degree certificate in veterinary medicine and a Masters Degree certificate in applied veterinary parasitology between April 2, 2012 and February 22, 2018.
The accused has so far denied the charges and is in remand after failing to post Sh100,000 bond granted by court.
Hearing of the case continues on June 5.