Scam claims to offer businesses free cash on behalf of Kenya’s first lady

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A Facebook page registered in the name of Kenya’s first lady Margaret Kenyatta claims to be giving business funding to Kenyans, no strings attached. However, AFP Fact Check found that the page is a scam, and a presidential spokeswoman confirmed that the first lady was not offering the advertised financial aid.

A Facebook post published on February 24, 2021, claims that Kenyatta is offering 30,000 Kenyan shillings ($275) to business owners as part of the government’s financial aid programme known as Inua Jamii.   

“This ksh30,000 is not a loan but is just my promotion to all Kenyans who can start and maintain their business. If you havent received it yet, you are requested to send me your number and receive it direct to your mpesa a/c within 5 to 10 minutes (sic),” reads the post, which has been shared nearly 80 times.

Screenshot of the imposter post taken on February 24, 2021

A similar version of the claim was also shared here and here.

The posts ask Kenyans to send their M-PESA numbers in order to receive the cash in their mobile wallets. M-PESA is a mobile money transfer service used in Kenya and other African countries.

Page impersonates Kenya’s first lady

Presidential spokeswoman Kanze Dena told AFP Fact Check that the Facebook account is not owned or managed by Kenyatta, wife of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“Facebook users have flagged several accounts impersonating the first lady that have been reported to us that are being used to fraudulently obtain money from Kenyans,” she said. 

The first lady only uses her verified Facebook account “Office of the First Lady Kenya” for official communication, Kanze added.

Screenshot of the official Facebook page of Kenya’s first lady, taken on March 19, 2021

The imposter account was first created on May 29, 2020, according to Facebooks page transparency section. 

User comments indicate that some believed the account to be authentic. One of the posts included a comment from the page administrator, made to look like it was from Kenyatta herself.

Screenshot of the author's comment, taken on March 22, 2021

What is Inua Jamii?

The posts claim that the business funds are from the “first lady’s Inua Jamii Program”.

Inua Jamii, a Swahili phrase meaning “to uplift the community”, is the name for the government’s cash transfer programme. It is managed by Kenya’s Ministry of Labour and Social Protection.

The funds are earmarked for vulnerable people: the elderly, orphaned children and those living with disabilities.

AFP Fact Check has previously debunked numerous online giveaway scams. Read more about some of the most common types of Facebook scams in Africa.