The Computer Society of Kenya

Since 1986


Monday October 07, 2019

Kenyans have been cautioned against buying electronic gadgets from individuals and dealers without fixed physical addresses and unidentifiable premises to avoid buying stolen items.

In a statement on Sunday evening, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) warned Kenyans against purchasing laptops, mobile phones and TV sets from traders who lack requisite trade documents, including licenses, permits and other local and national approvals.

Theft of electronic gadgets has become rampant in Kenya in recent years. Criminals steal, rebrand and repackage the gadgets using polythene bags before reselling them as new devices.

In August, police officers in Nairobi recovered 254 laptops believed to have been stolen from a house in Kilimani, Nairobi.

Last week, a local company published in the dailies serial numbers of more than 1000 laptops it claimed had been stolen from the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Nairobi, urging Kenyans not to buy the said gadgets.

According to the DCI, traders without proper premises usually buy the devices from ‘‘armed gangsters who have violently robbed innocent citizens’’ and maimed or killed them.

‘‘It’s risky and dangerous to buy any electronic device from suspicious outlets,’’ DCI said in statement on Twitter.

The DCI further advised Kenyans to insist on being issued with receipts ‘‘clearly itemising the particulars of the bought gadget’’, and to always keep copies of the receipt by ‘‘securing them electronically by photographing them’’.

Kenyans who defy these orders will face serious consequences.


‘‘Being found with suspected stolen property, you suffer immediate consequences of the actual criminal, which may escalate to a death sentence,’’ the DCI warned in the strong statement.

‘‘When [we] investigate (forensically) and find you in possession of such said devices, by the time it is established that you were not involved in the crime, you may have suffered immensely,’’ the statement said.

Meanwhile, dealers in electronics have been urged to seize the ICT technology to provide inimitable security codes while selling various devices to deter sale of suspicious goods, adding that this will make it easier for investigative agencies to track and identify such devices should they be stolen.

Kenyans have also been asked to report to the police any suspicious goods.

In August last year, detectives discovered in Nairobi a cache of 700 laptops that were reportedly stolen from the Office of the Deputy President William Ruto. Seven suspects were also arrested.

The laptops, valued at Sh320 million, had fraudulently been obtained from businessman Stephen Musyoka.

Vehicles with registration numbers associated with the DP were also found at the compound in Westlands. Dr Ruto’s office, however, denied any involvement in the scam.

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