Aug 18, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Frank Obegi and his friends were at times flush with cash, but mostly flat broke

As friends and relatives walked past the coffin containing the body of Frankline Obegi at his parents’ modest residence in Bogwendo village, Nyamira County on Tuesday, those who knew him as a high-flying social media influencer must have had a hard time believing that his story had ended so tragically.

Besides the humble atmosphere of his parents’ rural home, the majority of villagers the Daily Nation spoke to knew him as an ordinary young man from a poor family , where his relatives asked anyone who knew the whereabouts of his “money” to release it.

“I want the government to provide evidence that my son had a lot of money. I will forever be troubled if they don’t,” said Mr. Evans Moses.

“Our son was a fine man who struggled even with his education. He put off his university classes for a year due to lack of money,” said an uncle.

He was considered a Twitter boss due to his large social media following before his mutilated body and that of his three friends were found Lari Forest , Kiambu County, the stars seemed to have aligned on Obegi and the young man was up for big bucks and influence.

Until everything suddenly shut down.

Nevertheless, Obegi was for the residents of Bogwendo village just another young man who was sent to university in the hope that one day he would change the fortunes of his poor family. p>

Read: Kasarani four: How two families fought over a body in the city morgue

Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be. Not only did the 26-year-old never graduate from university, his life was interrupted by strangers who gouged out his eyes and chopped off his genitals.

It was a bitter end, broken by many of his friends and relatives who witnessed him in tears at the funeral. Obegi’s brother, Lyetton, told the nation that they just wanted the whole ordeal to be over.

“We just want to bury him so the stories on the internet and in the mainstream media stop.” he told us, when we visited his house. “Anyone can get a few shillings and buy stuff and then post photos on social media. It doesn’t mean they’re rich,” he said.

What still baffles many is how Obegi rose from such humble circumstances to a social media star who could spend tens of thousands of shillings on drinks in a single night.

Even in death, Obegi has become the face of the ‘Kasarani Four’, as the group consisting of himself, Elijah Omeka, Fred Obare, and Moses Nyachae, whose bodies were found in three different ones counties, was baptized. Obegi, the youngest of the four, happened to join the group in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic when all educational institutions were shutting down. Before the pandemic, Obegi was just another information technology student at Multi Media University struggling to pay tuition.

He was also an avid Twitter user, gaining notoriety and a large following, for angering Kenyans with his plagiarized tweets, including one from former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter handle. Angry Kenyans on Twitter – or KOT as the amorphous group of social media users call themselves – called for Obegi’s arrest through the hashtags #JailObegi and #Arrest Obegi.

“Obegi will one day become his own identity steal if we don’t stop him so please save us and lock up Obegi,” one Twitter user joked at the height of Obegi’s Twitter fame in 2016. It wasn’t until mid-2020 that Obegi emerged in Kasarani, where he first found himself Once befriended Obare and Nyachae and later Omeka. By this time all educational institutions and entertainment venues had been closed due to Covid-19.

Read: Kasarani four: “How Fred Obare cheated me out of 100,000 shillings”

“Obegi came by accident to the crew after he started showing up for drinking bouts,” a friend of the four murdered men told us. The sessions were not fancy at all. The group mainly enjoyed their drinks in cars. It all started at one location in Seasons, Kasarani and at Clayworks on Thika Road. Sometimes they enjoyed the drinks in Roysambu, which is also in the Kasarani sub-district. Alcohol, mostly gin and various mixers, was bought by the bottle from nearby wine and liquor stores and drunk from plastic cups. Sometimes girls were invited to the parties, most of whom were also from Nyamira.

Omeka, who had now moved from Kasarani to Kamakis on the East Bypass, would join them from time to time as he too met with other “business friends”.

Among these friends was Joseph Njau Ngendo, the politician whose body was found in Lari on June 19 along with those of Obegi and Obare.

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Njau was fighting a court case at the time, having been arrested for dealing five kilos of cocaine the year before. He reportedly tried to keep a low profile as he sought an alternative source of income.

According to police records, the politician was part of a larger heroin distribution network in Nairobi, sourcing narcotics from a Nigerian who was based in Kampala , Uganda.

“Njau travels to Uganda frequently. It has the pattern of leaving Kenya via the Busia border and returning to Kenya via the Malaba border. He’s doing this to avoid detection,” said a police report seen by the nation.

It wasn’t just Omeka who had a separate group of friends trying their hand at suspicious activity . Obare was also known for hanging out with Jack Anyango, Omeka Obuong, Benjamin Imbai and Brian Oduor, the four men who were kidnapped while leaving a restaurant in Kitengela and murdered last April. It is unknown what business Obare did with the Kitengela Four, whose disappearances and murders mirror those of the Kasarani Four.

Read: How Frank Obegi and his “boys” died

“They [the Kitengela Four] knew all the guys in the group from Kasarani, but they were closer to Fred [Obare],” a friend who used to say said The Nation that he would go for a drink with them.

“In fact, that morning in Kasarani, Fred had a drink with them [the Kitengela Four] before they left for Kitengela where they were kidnapped,” said the boyfriend.

Under these circumstances, Obegi became a member of a gang that police say was involved in online scams involving cryptocurrency and other crimes.

As of their families rightly claimed the four started out as online writers, like many other Kenyatta University (KU) students living in Kahawa Wendani, just across from v om the main campus of the KU. Obare reportedly wrote online until his death, and mostly when he didn’t have money.

However, the online writing was a back-up plan or cover, as police linked the group to an international loan has card fraud syndicate that has attracted so many Kenyan university students that Kasarani and Kahawa Wendani have now been listed as hotspots by law enforcement agencies.

In fact, Obegi, Obare and Nyachae have been arrested on multiple occasions – including a week before their disappearance – by officers from the Kasarani Police Station, but never charged.

“We have donated money countless times to get these boys out of police trouble, especially Obare and Obegi,” said a friend.

Each year in developed countries, about 115 million debit and credit cards are stolen and leaked onto the dark web, according to Gemini Advisory, a cybersecurity firm below earthly marketplaces and forums.

< p>Experts say that the Internet consists of three layers; the Surface Web, accessible to anyone with data, a communications device, and a browser like Google; the deep web, which includes password-protected sites like Facebook or Twitter; and the dark web, which requires specialized browsers such as Tor, Freenet, Subgraph, and Waterfox.

Read: Mysterious woman lured friend Frank Obegi to his death

The difference between the dark web and regular browsers is that users can hide their identity. Every day, millions of stolen credit cards, cryptocurrency accounts, hacked Gmail and Twitter accounts, purchasable malware and even drugs are sold on the dark web.

International credit card fraud syndicates have identified Kenya as a good place to launder their stolen funds due to its robust financial technology sector powered by Mpesa. Those who know the Kasarani Four say they were part of local gangs that helped international credit card fraud syndicates launder their money. Dozens of other university students, mostly living in Kahawa Wendani, support their lavish lifestyles this way.

In most cases, in countries like the US, money stolen from credit cards is deposited into the accounts of Kenyan university students who have one close-meshed circle that is difficult to penetrate. The scammers then send a fake bill for a fictitious service to their Kenyan counterparts. After receiving the bill, the Kenyan staff transfer the money shown on the bill to another scammers’ bank account and earn a commission.

Those who have been in business long enough and have IT skills do so Hack themselves by buying stolen credit card details on the Dark Web or Telegram. The hacked credit cards are then used to order expensive food in hotels, alcoholic beverages, electronic devices and even cars.

This is done quickly so that owners abroad do not notice that their cards have been hacked, and ask their banks to block them. Perhaps that’s why those who encountered Omeka, Obegi, Obare, and Nyachae think they lived great lives.

In reality, however, the four friends had no money to spend their lavish accused of financing lifestyle of life. Because every time they scored, they had to spend the money quickly before it got blocked.

It was a back and forth. In one day they spent tens of thousands in a nightclub with beautiful women, and the next they were drinking cheap beer and begging their parents to send them bananas or corn inland since they had no money for food.

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