Following the May 16, 2022 daylight killing of Samuel Mugoh Muvota in Mirema, Kasarani after dropping a woman, detectives based at DCI’s Corporate Communications & Public Affairs Unit have been combing DCI’s criminal database to interrogate who he was.
The findings have revealed details in the man’s dark life from 2011, when he allegedly started stealing from victims at ATM’s in various banks and 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, Muvota who headed an ATM and SIM swapping syndicate that operated like a mafia criminal organization, was a multi-millionaire with several real estate properties scattered across the city, a fleet of vehicles and 7 wives all living lavishly from proceeds of stupefied patrons in clubs most frequented by revelers.
50 cute women to spike drinks
So lucrative was Muvota’s trade that he had recruited over 50 beautiful women 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 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 such as top public servants, businessmen, politicians and men of the cloth, Muvota seemed to have made more enemies than friends.
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.
On most occasions, he would approach the complainants with a refund for their money and the cases would collapse.
Rogue bank officials, police officers
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.
It is suspected that the man worked with crooked banking officials who assisted him clean up accounts in a matter of minutes. 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.
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.
ATM card swapping trick
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.
In a well-orchestrated scheme, Mugota would strike past 5PM 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.
Victim dies after Sh700, 000 withdrawn from ATM
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 “spiking” syndicate in the country, targeting moneyed patrons in the hope of a happy ending.
But 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.
Drug for mentally unstable patients used to spike drinks
The expose has laid bare the extent at which the women went in administering a drug given to mentally unstable patients at Mathare mental hospital. The drug known in the Pishori world as ‘Tamuu’ is categorized into four. Tamuu red, tamuu green, tamuu white and tamuu blue.
The drug was administered in doses, depending on one’s immunity. Men with high blood pressure would not wake up after the first dose. Such are the women whom Muvota deployed in different towns in shifts. In Nairobi, they frequented club Switch in Kasarani, Whisky River along Kiambu road, Red Lion in Ruaka, Oklahoma Choma Zone, Lacascada, Aroma, Backroom, Mkwanju, Dragon and all the clubs along Kamiti road from Roysambu, 44 and Zimmerman.
If a man was very careful with his drink, the ladies would offer him an energy drink claiming that he was too drunk and not up to the task ahead. This would be followed by soft smooches that that would stupefy the man in minutes.
In case that trick failed to work, they would escort a man (if single) to his house and prepare coffee or scrambled eggs, for the man to eat. Single men and eggs are inseparable!
After a successful harvest targeting clubs in a given town, Muvota would redeploy them to a different town for cover. Interestingly, none of the men who reported being stupefied remembered being intimate with any of the women.
Even those found wearing condoms in their vehicles, the damsels would do it to deter the man from seeking assistance immediately they woke up, by driving to a mobile service provider’s shop. The unforgiving daughters of Eve would even disappear with the victim’s pair trousers as this gave them time to deliver the stolen items and seep the bank accounts dry.
Muvota paid the women alcohol bills
To avoid any suspicion, the women who were well briefed on their assignment ordered expensive liquor, convincing the male patrons on nearby tables that they were ordinary revelers moistening their thirsty throats. Their bills would however be forwarded to Muvota, who would clear them from his base of operation in Roysambu or Githurai 44. The thug who operated in over six cars among them Nissan Ex-trails, Toyota Fielders, Honda CRV’s among others was always on the move.
He ensured that the women lived in one estate in Gatunda along Kamiti corner and another one in Kahawa Wendani where he would visit them to collect stolen Phones, Identity Cards and ATM Cards. The women would then be paid handsomely, depending on how one had been industrious in a given night. One of them who has since confessed and mended her ways owns a palatial home in one of the city’s posh estates. She currently preaches the good word.
Once the mobile phone, SIM card and ATM cards were in his possession, he would then call mobile phone service providers customer care agents, pretending to have forgotten his mobile money personal identification number and have it reset.
That would mark the beginning of one’s financial woes, since the thug would send all the money to his fraudulent bank accounts and to add salt to injury, take loans from as many mobile money lending applications as possible adding more troubles to the never ending trials and tribulations of the boy child.
300 bank accounts
The high-tech phone scammer was so smart in his dealings that he left no trail of his transactions, by operating over 300 registered bank accounts, spread out across three leading banks.
One morning, he approached over 100 youths in Embu posing as a government employee who was recruiting job seekers to work as casuals at the Lamu port and Mau Mau road construction. After a sumptuous meal of nyama choma washed down with a drink of one’s choice, he told the clueless job seekers that they all needed new SIM cards and three bank accounts each from the leading banks. He helped them register the accounts and paid for their ATM cards.
Later he came back and asked them to register for mobile banking and use 1212 as the PIN number before collecting all the SIM cards, which he promised to deliver at the national Treasury, from where their salaries would be processed once they went to Lamu. The happy youths complied and as he left, he asked them to ‘Cheza Chini’ lest their appointments were revoked.
Conduit to hide stolen money
That was the last time they ever saw the man and none dared to report until detectives arrested some of them for fraudulent transactions amounting to hundreds of thousands of shillings. The youths who had never come across such colossal sums of money were dumbfounded and that when detectives realized that they had been used as conduits and released them.
Armed with personal details from the young men and women, Muvota had over 300 bank accounts that he was using for his transactions. In one day, he was making over Sh1 Million from administering pishori to unsuspecting men.
He even recruited university students who would be paid up to Sh 5,000 for every bank account that was delivered.
Fake police Inspector
Undoubtedly, Muvota was well updated in his trade to the extent that he knew all the ATM’s within the city and its environs without a CCTV camera. To avoid detection, he introduced himself as a police inspector based at Kiambu, and true caller identified him as Inspector Morris-Kiambu.
Preliminary investigations indicate that he had fallen out with some of his partners, who fled to a neighbouring country immediately after the murder. Detectives are hot on their trail.
Muvota had been arraigned at Kiambu, Makadara, Milimani, Thika and other law courts on numerous occasions but found his way out, often by approaching the complainants and paying them back their money. The complainants would then disappear.