File image of pupils in a classroom. PHOTO| COURTESY
Citizen TV has a cartel operating in parts of what used to be called Nyanza province, who has been duping unsuspecting jobless teachers into parting with thousands of shillings, ostensibly to get appointment letters from the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
Citizen went undercover to unearth the workings of this group, which is so well organised that they even post these teachers to schools on fake letters, only for the victims to be left feeling cheated and broke.
On Monday, March 25, I call a man going by the name Yassion Ombado and pose as a p1 teacher desperate for a TSC job. Ombado is very curious and wants to know how I had learned about him before quickly asking me for a fee that would initiate the hiring process.
We agree to meet the following day at a restaurant in Rongo to submit my papers which include a p1 college certificate, TSC number, KRA pin certificate, an up-to-date CV, bank account details and an application letter — all of them fake.
He asks for Ksh.80,000 but I manage to convince Mr. Ombado to accept Ksh.30,000 and I would pay the rest after I receive the offer letter. I plead with him to ensure that my offer letter comes before I leave town on Friday, March 29.
Mr. Ombado is, however, not a lone ranger.
According to our informer whose identity we shall protect to ensure his safety, Ombado, who is a cook at Kameji Secondary School, has a colleague in this dirty business.
His name is Andrew Amara, a grounds man at the same institution. The two receive orders from Kameji School Principal, a man our informer claims is the boss of the cartel.
A woman, who almost got duped, sends us a text message outlining a phone number she says belongs to the principal, which the two used to communicate before she learnt it was all a scam.
With this information, we try out the number said to belong to the principal, but he remains dodgy in our conversation and insists that he cannot respond to our queries via phone.
Meanwhile, Ombado has been working hard towards ensuring that I receive my letter of offer as agreed.
On Thursday March 28, I receive a call from him saying that my TSC number is incorrect and I immediately begin to think my cover has been blown. But this cartel has the solution.
They have a new TSC number for me and just like that, my offer of employment letter arrives on Friday, March 29 outlining among other details, my salary of Ksh.230,000 per year and my reporting date.
I’m however, instructed to visit the Siaya County Director of Education in order to be posted.
I again plead with my recruiter to accept Ksh.10,000 as I cannot afford the 50,000 balance. He reluctantly agrees.
Earlier on, Mr. Ombado had mentioned that they had posted five teachers at a national girls’ school in the area; his statement was perhaps to give me confidence to proceed with the recruitment process.
We check with the TSC to verify if indeed my new registration number is genuine but it turns out that it is as fake as every letter this cartel has been issuing to unsuspecting victims. In fact, the last number issued by TSC to date is 821119 compared to mine of 892518.
The commission’s head of communications Kihumba Kamotho admitted that TSC was aware of such fraudsters and had reported several of them to police.
He, however, dismisses claims that some TSC officials may be part of the scam insisting all their recruitments are done in the open.
All available teaching vacancies are advertised.
Applicants are interviewed and the results are announced in the presence of all candidates,” reads the statements quote.
Kamotho also sent us one of the alerts they have given to the public about suspected fraudsters, an indication that the cartel in Migori may well be part of a bigger network that continually fleeces desperate kenyans who will do anything to get a job.