Daily fraud update: 13th January

Chris Lee

Kenyan man pulled off major forex fraud, says report

A news report in Kenya has outlined how a man from the country allegedly managed to carry out a significant foreign exchange fraud.

An article on the SDE news website in the country explains how Alex Ribero Ngugi, who is also known as Aba Mpesha, went to a branch of the country’s Giro Bank in Westlands in Nairobi back in 2002.

He put down a deposit of 5,000 Kenyan shillings, which is roughly equivalent to £38 or $49.

He then set up an account called Mpesha Enterprises, which supposedly worked in the horticultural industry.

The reality of the situation was allegedly very different.

Mpesha was believed to be using the account to instead redirect millions by selling Treasury bonds in a fraudulent manner.

Millions of shillings were later transferred to a number of foreign exchange firms, including Blue Sea Forex Bureau and Travellers Forex Bureau.

Various institutions have received criticism thanks to a report from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

It is understood that Mpesha was permitted to open the account despite having no personal identification number, which is necessary under the law.

The designated holder of the account was apparently not Mpesha himself, but instead the name “John Mbuu”.

The discussion of the story in the Kenyan press this week reflects the intense level of attention which forex fraud receives in Kenya.

It is a particularly pressing problem given the level of instability involved with many local African currencies, and the demand this creates for more stable currencies.

The country’s central bank has issued warnings about the problem in the recent past, encouraging people not to fall victim to such crimes.

Singaporean crypto association trials new anti-fraud voting system

 A cryptocurrency association in Singapore has revealed that it was successfully in trialling a group voting system designed to reduce the incidence of fraud.

ACCESS, which is short for the Association of Cryptocurrency Enterprises and Start-ups, said that it was able to run an on-premise blockchain voting system at its annual general meeting.

The platform came from JEDTrade, one of the blockchain firms in the association.

One of the stated aims of the new piece of kit is to boost the level of transparency involved in voting – and also to reduce the risk that some people would behave fraudulently by voting more than once.

The system works by creating a list of voting codes, which are produced randomly and then stored in a so-called “smart contract” – a system well-known to many crypto users.

The blockchain technology then encrypts any possible monitoring link between the voter and the vote, providing anonymity, before a series of QR codes are printed.

“We are proud to have successfully deployed this unique use case and provide ACCESS members with a smooth and transparent voting process”, said Dr. Ernie Teo, the CEO of JEDTrade.

Chris Lee

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