cThis story was given to me over the weekend by a friend. It could be one of the hekayas but it is worth noting because it can happen to anyone or rather it COULD be happening to someone right now: I will try to summarize and put it in points form:

– A person who own a plush home in upmarket Kileleshwa, lavington, Muthaiga, or Karen placed an advert in the papers and websites that the house was ready to rent at ksh 300,000 per month.

– After some days, the guy received a call from a ‘diplomat’ who was speaking with an American accent who said that he had been deployed to the local American Embassy and would like to view the house to see if he can rent it. He is given the physical address and they agree to meet the following day.

– The guy surely turned up with his spouse, a kid and in a state of the art SUV, with diplomatic number plates. So the owner was instantly impressed and of course took the ‘family’ around the house. “We will take it” The ‘diplomat’ exclaimed as he held the kid who had all along been nagging him to ‘please take the house Pleaaaaase’.

–  “So how would you like to be paying the rent?” “quarterly or monthly?” the owner asked. “Oh, not a problem!” The guy responded. “In fact I will give you a cheque for a full year’s rent, starting from next month”. ‘Super!’ The owner who at this stage was thoroughly impressed responded . “I will get the lease agreement drafted and hand it over to you by tomorrow? Is that OK?” ‘No problem’ says the diplomat as they departed.

– So they met the following day to sign the lease agreement and surely the ‘diplomat’ had a cheque (cheque? Here is where he should have raised a red flag) for Ksh 3.6Million! “Forgive me” the house owner said, “I think nowadays one is not able to bank any cheque worth a million shillings and over in Kenya, So we should do Direct Transfer or direct deposit” He explained. “No problem” the diplomat said after receiving a call for the umpteenth time. (Another red flag). True to his word the guy deposited ksh 3.6million in the owners account the following day. They agreed to meet at the house the following day so that he can be given the keys.

– “How soon would you like to be visiting your house to examine it’s state?” the diplomat enquired. “Uhhm, I don’t want to bother your often since I know you are a busy man and I can see you are a good tenant, so I will call you after six months, and then we shall meet in the eleventh month to review the lease” the owner responded. “Excellent!” the guy responded “and thank you for understanding” he said as he received the Keys.

– Fast forward; Six month later, the owner called the tenant who assured him that everything was intact and in fact there was no need of coming. “OK then the lets me on 15th of the eleventh Month for lease review” “Great!” Retorted the ‘tenant’.(Big Mistake)

-Fast Forward to the Eleventh Month; the owner/landlord had set a reminder on his phone to ‘call tenant about lease review’ at exactly 10.00am on 15th. Dialled the number….Mteja. ‘May be he is in a meeting’ He consoled himself. “I will try and call him later in the day. He Called again at 4pm, still mteja, at 5, mteja, 7.30, mteja. “Hmm. OK I will have to dash there early in the morning as it will be on a weekend so that we can discuss further’

– At around 10 am, he was at the gate of his house, saw that curtains were drawn and in fact there were some clothes hanging in the lines. “Why was I getting so worried?” he murmurs to himself as he honks.

– “ Habari Boss? Nikusaitieko namna gani?” The guard asked him “ Mimi ndiye Mwenye nyumba hapa, yaani landlord na nimekuja kuona mzee kidogo. Yuko?” The owner enquires. “Ngoja Kidogo basi nimjulishe kwa simu” The Guard responded as he made a call.

– Five minutes later, a guy(not the DIPLOMAT) came from the house and asked the owner. “Yes Sir, How can I help you?” “Morning? I am the owner of this house and I have come so that we can review the lease agreement with nanii as we had agreed 11 months ago. Is he in?” he responded while enquiring.

– “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? I BOUGHT THIS HOUSE 6 MONTHS AGO FROM Mr so and So. I am the owner!!” The guy retorts with a raised voice. “WHAT????” The owner asked amid momentary confusion. “THIS IS MY HOUSE! I LEASED IT TO MR SO AND SO almost a year ago and he paid me one year rent in full!!” “What kind of f—ing stunt are you trying to pull???” “Ama wewe ni wa naswa?”

– There was a heated argument full of name calling and swearing as everyone claimed that the house was theirs. Passersby and neighbours started to gather. As they enquired on what was happening one passerby shouted; “Ni kama nyinyi wawili mumeuziwa hii nyumba”……………………………………….Both Fainted.

– It turned out that this diplomat was a high level conman. He ‘leased’ the house from its owner, then after everything went quiet, he approached his accomplices at the lands offices, who faked and altered all the documents to his name so that he owned the house. Then after a month or so he placed the house ON SALE in one of the dailies for 20M! The new ‘owner’ thought that he had found a great deal(such houses go for 30-50M), so he immediately contacted the conman, they go through the due diligence(verification and all) and he deposits the money in the diplomat’s account, he gets the keys and moves in as the new owner. By the way he had taken a loan from a bank with his former residence in Nyayo Estate as collateral.
Right now, they are both in court claiming ownership of the same house. The lands ministry cannot trace the ‘original’ file so everything is in a state of confusion.

The conman drained all his accounts and disappeared into thin air having made a cool 16.4M (20M-3.6M) within six months. As we talk, he is probably targeting another victim……

Be warned.