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Kenya Power probing fraudulent online sale of its prepaid tokens

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A Kenya Power employee inspects a meter box. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

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Summary

  • Investigations have unveiled a ring of fraudsters colluding with internal staff using a web of unidentified mobile numbers.
  • Kenya Power said it has instituted an internal investigation after it was notified about the fraud.
  • An investigative report by Nation Media revealed Kenya Power could be losing millions of shillings every week to an intricate web.

Kenya Power has launched investigations into online scammers draining the utility company of revenues through the sale of discounted pre-paid tokens.

Investigations have unveiled a ring of fraudsters colluding with internal staff using a web of unidentified mobile numbers, to target unsuspicious customers through popular social media platforms including WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook.

Some are lured to fake websites with token offers at varied costs and are required to fill in their details including electricity meter numbers exposing themselves to cyber criminals given that most payments to the pre-paid token scammers are done via e-wallets and other mobile banking platforms.

Kenya Power said it has instituted an internal investigation after it was notified about the fraud.

An investigative report by Nation Media revealed that staff at the electricity distributor have manipulated the system to generate payment codes for illegal buyers who get way higher units than usual.

“Last month, we were alerted by members of the public and the media of communication that was being circulated by unscrupulous people purporting to be selling discounted pre-paid electricity tokens,” the Kenya Power communications team said in response via text.

“As a business, we take these allegations seriously and as a consequence, we immediately commenced investigations to get to the bottom of the matter which are underway,” Kenya Power said.

An investigative report by Nation Media revealed Kenya Power could be losing millions of shillings every week to an intricate web.

Nation reporters spent Sh2,500 to buy prepaid tokens from Kenya Power using the 888880 online payment code and received 138.28 units.

On the same day, another Sh2,500 was spent on buying tokens, only this time the Nation dealt directly with a staff who works at the IT department.

Before payment of Sh2,500 was done, a code was sent, the units read 20.53 before the code was entered on the meter.

Immediately the units increased to 1,234.47, meaning for Sh2,500, we got 1,213.94 units. The interesting part about the units obtained illegally is that the more you use power, the more the units accumulate.

The expose has prompted the utility company to track the rogue employees believed to be working in cahoots with third parties to defraud the company and innocent Kenyans by generating and selling pre-paid tokens.

“Anyone, whether a member of staff or public, found to have participated in this activity will be subjected to the full force of the law, as has been the case in the past,” Kenya Power said.

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