Authorities in Kisii have apprehended a man who defrauded US visa hopefuls of Sh1.5 million.
The alleged bishop of the Pentecostal Evangelistic Fellowship of Africa (PEFA) church was seized by police after his congregation sounded the alarm. Kisii Police Chief Charles Kases disclosed that Samson Obonyo was taken into custody on charges of fraudulent money solicitation. Police stated that Obonyo tricked unsuspecting individuals into thinking he had insider contacts at the US embassy and could leverage these connections to obtain visas for them.
Obonyo convinced the aspirants to relinquish substantial amounts of money to process their visas. The trusting applicants, desperate for employment opportunities in the US, failed to discern Obonyo’s deception. According to Kases, 20 victims have reported their grievances to the police against the supposed bishop.
“Obonyo convinced his victims that a fee was required to ‘facilitate’ their visa processing. He extorted Sh1,480,000 from unsuspecting individuals eager for job prospects in America. After collecting the money, he promptly vanished. He was eventually apprehended in the expansive Jogoo estate following a lead,” Kases detailed.
Sophia Gesare, one of the victims, revealed that Obonyo announced the purported US work opportunities to the congregation back in 2019. The cleric defrauded Ms. Gesare of Sh2 million, as she sought to secure work opportunities abroad for her children. She further disclosed that Obonyo encouraged her to enlist more interested individuals.
“As a Pefa church attendee in Itibo, I recall the bishop announcing opportunities for US employment. In 2020, these plans were ostensibly put on hold due to the Covid pandemic. However, once international travel resumed, the bishop absconded with our money and passports,” Gesare shared.
Police records indicate another victim, Tiberius Mosoti, handed over Sh200,000 to the bishop to facilitate his journey to the US. The clergyman directed them to meet at the US embassy as a group, but on their arrival, Obonyo was missing and subsequently ignored their calls.