The Wash Wash Saga - Money Laundering in Kenya

According to allegations, numerous individuals con individuals and businesses abroad and locally, alleging the ability to print money and even showing money-printing machines to them, and then asking them to send big sums of money for multiplication.

The Wash Wash Saga - Money Laundering in Kenya
Photo by Rock Staar / Unsplash

Edgar Obare, a notorious gossip blogger, came out guns blazing last week with a slew of allegations about alleged money laundering schemes undertaken by a cabal of Kenyan youth, leaders and media personalities. The money laundering expose was titled ‘wash wash’ and was released on his Instagram stories in a series of 5. Edgar, the now renowned “tea master”, came out with photos and names tying several youth, leaders and media personalities to an international money laundering and con scheme.

According to him, the chain goes up to the seat of power, tying the Deputy President and several other leaders. The cabal, he alleged, also ties media personalities such as Shaffie Weru and Betty Kyalo to the unscrupulous dealings that include conning people and laundering the money through businesses such as high-end salons. He even connected the scheme to now arrested social media influencer, Hush Puppi.

How Wash Wash Happens

According to allegations, numerous individuals con individuals and businesses abroad and locally, alleging the ability to print money and even showing money-printing machines to them, and then asking them to send big sums of money for multiplication. When an individual is conned, knowingly where they pay the money or unknowingly through credit card fraud, the money is channeled to Kenya.

The cabal is alleged to have a way to scam their way into withdrawing money from credit card machines offline. The money is loaded into cards where before 24 hours lapse, it can be withdrawn despite how high the sum is, from bank accounts and credit cards. Typically, a transaction of $10,000 or more will flag a warning and the bank is required by law to flag such transactions and inquire on the source and destination of the money.

Circumventing Credit Card Controls

The wash wash cabal is, however, alleged to have a way to circumvent this by using pre-loaded credit card machines that can be used offline to load money without detection, a process that should be done within 24 hours. The huge sums being loaded, literally millions of dollars, are said to be proceeds of scams and cons where unclaimed refunds from the Internal Revenue Service, IRS, for instance, are funneled to the scammers’ accounts.

Claiming Inexistent Tax Refunds from the Internal Revenue Service, IRS

It is said that the cabal claims these tax refunds by impersonating US citizens who are eligible and claiming the refunds which they then funnel through the credit card machines. The funds are also outright proceeds of conning people or businesses abroad and locally. According to the expose, some Kenyans have been conned thousands of dollars.

Recruiting the Youth to Get Access to their Bank Accounts

When the money reaches Kenya, the wash wash cabal looks for people with bank accounts that have close to nothing to launder the money. They recruit the youth to go and deposit the money in their own bank accounts from where the money can then be channeled into face value or front businesses or sent to the scammers’ accounts. According to allegations, the cabal will find media personalities, musicians, and social media influencers who they will then put up a business for, to launder the money.

Influencers Allegedly Used to Front Money Laundering Businesses

Allegedly, an influencer will be given a huge sum to open a high-end salon or club and then given the proceeds of scams to deposit to the banks every day, alleging that the money is what they have made on that day from the business. Therefore, on a daily basis, a high-end salon could be depositing half a million Kenya shillings as what they made on that day, when in reality the only made half the amount. The other half, allegedly, is money that has been funneled to them to launder and clean. The same goes for high-end clubs which are fronts put up to support the crime and help clean millions of dollars.

Top Kenyan Government Officials Allegedly Involved in Wash Wash Money Laundering

On Edgar’s stories, he mentioned a slew of names and even showed associations with top government officials. He also showed the expensive lifestyle that the alleged wash wash cabal is leading. He showed pictures of lavish homes and high-end motor vehicles, all allegedly financed by money laundered after being stolen or conned out of victims of the cabal. Edgar even went as far as to tie the wash wash cabal with several murders of individuals who allegedly fell out with the cabal. He even claimed to have received warnings from people close to the ring. Edgar also posted audios of a lady who said was an ex-wife to one of the wash wash boys, warning him that they would end him.

The Wash Wash Cabal Allegedly Linked to the Fake Gold Scam Syndicates

Days after the expose aired and trended on social media, Edgar Obare’s Instagram account was pulled down, and there has been said to be numerous arrests carried out of the people allegedly involved. The cabal had also been linked to fake gold scams and allegedly conning Saudis and prominent member of the Saudi Royal Family.

One fake gold scam had even allegedly pushed the President to go to Saudi and apologize for the scam, a scam tying prominent Kenyan politicians and members of the political class. Intriguingly, the expose also included a slew of news reports and Directorate of Criminal Investigation, DCI, tweets linking them to the wash wash saga. According to Edgar, a lot of those tweets and reports were directly linked to the cabal and their unscrupulous and illegal activities.