NAIROBI, Jun 14 – The National Alliance (TNA) wants the police to investigate fraudsters using the party’s name to extort money from Kenyans, under guise of supporting Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidential bid.
TNA Secretary General Onyango Oloo said a group calling itself Supreme Candidate Lobby Group has been sending text messages from short code 3839 asking people if they support the Deputy Prime Minister for the presidency.
“The group has been going around in the past one week extorting money from members of the public using the name of Uhuru Kenyatta or purporting to be associated to him,” Oloo told journalists at the Central police station on Thursday when the party lodged a formal complaint with the police.
“This lobby group is going about pretending or purporting to conduct opinion polls through number 3839. Let it be known that we have nothing to with it as a party.”
He said the group has been sending subscribers a text message asking them if they support Kenyatta for the presidency and whenever one replies, he or she is asked to go to the menu to contribute Sh225 to join the lobby group.
“As a party, we do not have such a lobby group… we are not party to it and it is an extortion group. We are not running any fundraising,” he said.
Oloo said many Kenyans are losing their money to the group’s tricks, which he said have nothing to do with the party.
“This is character assassination. These are people out to spoil the name of the party and if it is politically motivated. We ask them to desist immediately. We have reported the matter and we want police to take action,” he added.
Oloo said even some members of the party had received similar text messages and lost money.
The party has formally written to Safaricom Limited, urging it to take action.
“We hereby request that your organisation takes the appropriate remedial measures to ensure that short codes 3839 and 4885 do not continue misleading the public,” TNA’s Secretary of Justice and Legal Affairs Jasper Mbiuki wrote in a letter dated June 13.
Mbiuki said he had also communicated to Airtel Kenya Limited, Orange Telkom Limited and the Communication Commission of Kenya for their general information.
TNA said its official short codes are 6551 for the party and 4878 for Uhuru.
TNA’s letter to Safaricom contains some of the text messages the short code 3839 has been allegedly sending to subscribers.
Some of the messages read as follows: “Opinion polls; if elections were held today would you vote UHURU KENYATTA as President? SMS YES to 3839 endorse Uhuru, SMS NO to 3839 reject Uhuru. iBelieve!”
Response if Yes: “Thanks for your opinion. SMS PEACE to 3839.To join The Supreme Candidate lobby Group, Go to Mpesa MENU & pay agency fee Sh225 to paybill no.522522 a/c no.1133960413.
“The above text message is deceptive in that it signs off using the campaign slogan of our Party (iBelieve) which is clearly intended to mislead the recipient into thinking that the message has emanated from TNA, which is not the case. Furthermore the response solicits for funds from unsuspecting Kenyans to join the lobby group,” the TNA letter states.
Safaricom pledged to respond to the claims.