On February 1, Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo posted on her Facebook page about turning up for a funeral in her constituency only to be shocked that it was “fake”. The family of the “bereaved” was equally shocked.
“I often stand with my constituents in good and bad times. Due to the high mortality rate we often have several funerals per week. Today we had about 10. However, two turned out to be fake. Increasingly, people lie about death just to get food on the table,” reads Ms Odhiambo’s post.
“It is very sad. In one instance, my representatives arrived at a home to say pole to a guy personally known to me for losing his son. The family was shocked to learn that it was supposedly bereaved.
“I attended another one myself only to discover that there was no funeral. However, you learn to take it easy. I was told that part of leadership is accepting that you must be conned frequently,” reads the post.m
Many MPs have been conned through calls for non-existent funerals, hospital bills and school fees.
The con men normally target first-time MPs who are still learning the ropes.
They sometimes collude with constituency fund managers to exaggerate the number of funerals.
“Since most MPs confirm with their managers at the constituency, the con men connive with them to increase the number and share the money,” said Kasipul MP Charles Were.
Maragwa MP Mary Waithera wa Maua said she was conned of Sh5,000 by a woman posing as the county director of education.
“She called me and introduced herself as Faith, apparently the first name of the director is also Faith. She said they were taking lunch and she was supposed to settle the bill but had just realised that she did not carry enough money. I sent her the money,” Ms Maua said.
When she met the real director she asked for a refund and learnt that she had been conned.
North Mugirango MP Joash Nyamoko said that someone called him last month claiming that the family needed Sh60,000 to clear mortuary bills at Kenyatta National Hospital and transport the body home for burial.
Luckily, Mr Nyamoko was going to the same mortuary to mourn another constituent.
“I called the person and told him to wait for me at the mortuary,” Mr Nyamoko said. When he called from the mortuary the person disconnected the call.
Kipkelion West MP Hillary Koskei was also almost conned in a similar manner. Mr Koskei narrated how he received a call last November from a man who claimed to have a patient at Tenwek hospital and was required to pay a Sh70,000 bill and needed assistance.
Moved by the plight of the man who claimed to be from his constituency, the MP agreed to meet him.
“I wrote him a cheque of Sh70,000 and gave it to my driver. I told the driver to present the cheque to the hospital and bring the receipt,” Mr Koskei said.
On the way to the hospital the man excused himself to go for short call in a nearby thicket and was never seen again.