Two men accused of opening a Facebook account under the guise of former First Lady Margaret Kenyatta have been released.
The duo had allegedly been lying to Kenyans that the First Lady was disbursing cash to small businesses to cushion them from the effects of Covid-19.
They are however said to have asked interested traders to pay registration and transaction fees.
Duke Ongweso and Brian Nyakiri pleaded not guilty before Kibera senior principal magistrate Charles Mwaniki on Monday.
The charge sheet said that the two committed the offence between March and June 22 at an unknown place within Kenya, and with others.
It said they created and posted articles on the page to defraud people.
“We are disbursing Sh30,000 to small business entities upon registration with Sh599, payable through mobile number 0715062579, 0726685788 and 0740841644 to cushion them from the Covid-19 pandemic,” their post read.
Police say besides the registration fee, a Sh400 transaction fee was also demanded.
The charge sheet says that on April 24, they obtained Sh999 from Edah Masoso, purporting that they were registering her to benefit. They also obtained Sh600 from Centrine Nafula.
Police say the suspects were arrested after they probed the fake post that was likely to discredit the former first lady’s reputati
They were arrested in Kisii county after detectives got a tip-off.
The suspects were also charged with other counts of publishing false data contrary to the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act and two counts of obtaining money by false pretence.
The suspects, through lawyer Isaac Okinyo Jabungu urged the court to drop the charges as the prosecution failed to avail the witnesses in court.
The two were out on bond after Jabungu during the plea taking urged the court to grant them a lenient bond term.
They were released on a Sh1 million bond each or an alternative Sh100,000 bail.
The lawyer said the suspects had been in police custody for 17 days, hence it was only fair they be released on bond to go back to Kisii.
Jabungu also requested documentary evidence alongside witness statements.
Mwaniki directed that the charges be dropped and the cash be returned to the suspects, if it was paid in court.