‘Witchdoctors’ accused of conning Asians of Sh2 million
If you think your valuable Nairobi land is haunted by evil spirits and you want to sell it, what do you do?
Call three witchdoctors who tell you to spend Sh2 million to buy magical oil to burn a snake and scatter the ashes in the Indian Ocean. Then the land will be cleansed and sellable.
This tale of gullibility, superstition and greed emerged on Tuesday in Nairobi before chief magistrate Francis Andayi when three men were arraigned on fraud charges.
The court heard that Titus Fedha, Haji Shariff and Suleiman Salum obtained Sh2 million by claiming that two parcels Harbans Singh intended to sell harboured evil spirits.
One parcel is at 16 Red Hill Garden the other is in Kitisuru.
It’s not so strange when you consider that Nairobi is plastered with signs advertising witchdoctors who work all manner of magic.
All three pleaded not guilty and each was released on Sh300,000 cash bail.
The tale gets a bit muddled but the trio, two Kenyans and a Tanzanian, claimed the parcel or parcels were cursed and contained a snake and other witchcraft paraphernalia. These included cowry shells, gourds, black powders and assorted clothing.
The accused allegedly informed Sing and his wife that the land had to be cleansed by burning the snake and scattering its ashes in the Indian Ocean.
Allegedly, the suspects were seen visiting Singh’s residence with a briefcase containing a snake and other paraphernalia.
The suspects then disappeared.
They were arrested on Monday night.
Earlier, it is said that Singh had called on a man to pray for three days over the land he intended to sell. It involved collecting soil samples to be burnt.
On returning to where the soil was burnt, the complainant and others found a gold wedding ring, foreign currency rolled in a black thread, a nail, a razor blade tied to chicken bones and a bottle containing red liquid.
This bizarre sight is said to have convinced Singh that his land indeed was haunted and would bring bad luck.
He was persuaded to buy the special snake-burning oil on June 16.
In an alternative count, the trio was charged with conspiring to defraud Singh of Sh280,000 to exorcise evil spirits by employing the ‘dark arts’.he Sh2 million oil was the last bit of the process.
Police said that during a search of Haji Shariff’s house in Kileleshwa they recovered a suitcase containing witchcraft paraphernalia.
Haji sought lenient bail and bond terms, claiming his wife is heavily pregnant and had gone into shock when she learned of his arrest. She is in hospital.
The others also pleaded for leniency.
The trial will begin on September 26.
-The Star:(Edited by V. Graham)