Police are yet to arrest a tall, light-skinned woman who is suspected to be the engine behind the multi-million-shilling fake tenders that have sucked in government institutions.
The suspect, whose real name is Joy Wangari Kamau but often introduces herself as “Ms Muhoro” to conceal her identity, masquerades as project manager or procurement officer at either State House or at Harambee House Annex.
She also claims to be leading a team of people who are pass off as intelligence and military officers.
Accounts by victims and the police indicate Ms Kamau plays a key part in convincing targets on the authenticity of the tender documents, which later turn out to be fake. Officers from the Serious Crimes Unit at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations who are trying to crack open the racket are trailing the “boss lady” who is alleged to be well-connected, and has previously been spotted with high-ranking politicians and officials.
Police already have her photos but it appears it has been hard to trace her.
“She (Joy Kamau) is the lady we have been looking for. She is suspected to be the mastermind and engineer of the whole scam,” a detective privy to the investigation, but who spoke in confidence, told the Sunday Nation.
Already, Ms Kamau has been charged at the Milimani Law courts alongside Mr Jonah Ochieng Osore, a former employee at Deputy President William Ruto’s office and three others in a case where they allegedly defrauded Makueni businessman Stephen Ngei Sh180 million last year through a fake computer tender.
Recently, the court issued a third warrant of arrest against her and cancelled her Sh500,000 bond for absconding hearings in the fraud case in which she allegedly operated as Ms Muhoro at the third floor of Harambee House Annex.
Detectives are also looking for her male accomplice who claims to be a senior military officer, and who is also said to be a ringleader.
One of her alleged victims is Mr Charles Gathii, who lost Sh116 million after being awarded fake tenders to supply laptops to install security systems at the President’s official residence and DoD in January and September last year. According to Mr Gathii, the director Microhouse Technologies Limited, a software development company, Ms Kamau is reported to be facing a litany of other fraud-related charges.
Mr Gathii said he was lured into the deal by a Mr Douglas Simiyu, who identified himself as an intelligence officer but whose real name was later revealed to be Fredrick Mangala Muhanji after his arrest. He is currently facing charges in court. In this instance, according to court documents, Ms Kamau allegedly introduced herself as “Ms Patricia Mareka”, a State House procurement officer.
From the photos shared with the Sunday Nation, Ms Kamau cuts the image of a sophisticated woman. Mr Gathii, in his police statement, said after meeting Mr Simiyu, he was informed of a mouth-watering tender to supply 1,200 pieces of HP ENVY laptops, which he was told were needed at State House for a security alarm project. It turned out to be a suspected case of fraud that is now the subject of a court case.
“Ms Mereka” is alleged to have handed him an award letter for the restricted classified tender No STHSE/SUPLS/0451-404/2017-2018/SH and a Purchase Order No POQ422, Ref; STHSE/LAPTOPS/018 dated January 3, 2018 for the supply of the laptops
“Ms Patricia Mareka” was to later be involved in another fake tender supposedly for the Department of Defence on which Mr Gathii has also filed a complaint.
“I met Madam Patricia Mereka on January 10, 2018, where I found a contract had been drafted complete with a confidential agreement that I was required to submit,” Mr Gathii told the police.
While police are still looking for Ms Kamau, on December 14 last year Mr Mangala aka Simiyu was charged with fraud, theft, forgery and impersonating an intelligence officer.
The charge sheet read that on diverse dates in January, jointly with others not before court, he conspired with intent to defraud by means of fake tender number … obtained 1,200 laptops valued at Sh96 million from Charles Gathii.”
The second count read that on diverse dates between January 18 and January 22 in Kilimani, jointly with others not before court, he stole 1,200 HP laptops worth Sh96 million, the property of Mr Gathii, who they are said to have lied to that they were delivering the goods to State House.
But Gathii said the police should put in more effort to arrest Ms Kamau to uncover the suspected racket.
Mr Gathii also lost Sh40 million through a similar scam, after being promised tenders to supply laptops for installation of a severance system at DoD allegedly by Mr Simiyu and Mr Eric Otieno Atanga, who masquerades as Colonel David Koech.
Mr Atanga has since been charged with obtaining Sh40 million from Mr Gathii by falsely pretending that he was in a position to award him a tender to supply goods at DoD, a fact that he knew was false.