3 Types of ‘Wash Wash’ Scams That Are Common in Kenya

3 Types of ‘Wash Wash’ Scams That Are Common in Kenya

If you live in Kenya you’ve probably heard about “wash wash”, a slang used to describe a scam where con artists fraudulently obtain money from an unsuspecting victim.

“Wash Wash” scams take many forms, and as revealed by a Twitter user, 99 OGs’ @ChiefJambazi, there are three types that are as devastating as they are common.

Read them below as written by 99 OGs’ on Twitter.


Flashy Cars, Latest designer clothes, rolex watches, they hang out in some of the most expensive clubs drinking only expensive bottles, they are always surrounded by beautiful women of course where there is money you will always find beautiful ladies but what does he do for a living? ” Oooh kumbe huyo msee ni wa wash wash ”

What exactly is wash wash?

Most people have this notion that wash wash is dealing with fake money well that is just a tip of the iceberg, there are many definitions of wash wash but you only need to know this to understand what it really is, wash wash is Brain Washing.

Brainwashing is always the first step, the first formula that one needs to learn in order to apply in order to succeed in applying Wash Wash, make people believe that you have money dress nicely don’t be afraid to spend the little that you have for something bigger.

Wash Wash guys even go to the extent of hiring expensive cars from car bazaars just to look the part, brain washing is always the key to wash wash.

There are many forms of Wash Wash, I will dwell on a few examples that are very common.

  1. The Fake Money Scam

This form is the most common type of wash wash and it usually targets university students and young youths who are eager and hungry for huge amounts of money i.e hundreds of thousands or even millions.

You meet up with an old age mate from a previous life, the guy looks like he is living the life dressing well and he is even driving while you a first year or second year student is struggling with college life so you ask the guy what his secret to success is, he whispers.

“Msee hii life ni kuwa mjanja, mimi huosha pesa Bro ” So you are curious and you ask him how you can get into business he tells you that you need materials for that kind of business and those materials require money, your curiosity gets the better of you , he explains further.

First of all you need Money Materials, Chemical For a hundred thousand material you will buy it with Ksh10,000, for Ks200,000 you will need Ks20, 000 and so on. At this point you are attentively listening and picturing how you can get rich quickly.

He then tells you that he will introduce you to the Material guy then introduce you to the chemical guy all you just need to do is get the money for the material ready . He leaves you are overjoyed and you begin to hustle up and down for the money.

You are able to raise Ksh10,000 so you call him and tell him what you have raised the guy the introduces you to another flashy friend who gives you Ksh100,000 notes in form of materials.

The Sh100,000 looks like this:-

Now they tell you that those black notes are materials that require chemicals to change it into real money now you need like 15K to buy the chemical and at this point they are talking of buying the chemical from some Indian guy , you become so interested but since you don’t have Ksh15,000 what do you do you either sell that laptop that your parents struggled so hard to buy it so that you can study or you involve a friend who can raise that kind of money all in all you need to raise the Ksh15,000 for the chemicals.

You hustle up and down you run until you eventually raise Ksh15,000 then you bring it to your friend he then decides to introduce to some other guy who deals with the Indian who sells the chemicals, the guy brings you the chemicals now you are finally on your way to be Ksh100,000 richer.

They then take you to a room probably somewhere where you feel safe and they show you the trick of changing fake money ” black notes to real one ” with the chemicals . First they mix the chemical with water then deep the material inside then they dry it.

It’s usually a scenario that looks like this:

But the cash that is produced is weak and easily tears off they then mix again take an original 1000 note place it in the middle of two fake notes then they wrap it and apply pressure on it for about five minutes then the chemical guy tells you that the material is too strong for the chemical and the chemical won’t be able to produce an original money that’s why the first material was weak therefore you need original money like about 50 K to strengthen the material and the chemical.

At this point they unwrap the tissue wash it off with the chemical water and wallah there you have two thousand shillings plus the original one making it three thousand the black notes have turned out to be original . At this point you are willing to go to any length.

Now you have to look for Ksh50,000 to strengthen the fake Ksh97,000 that is in your possession so as to make it legit , now this is where most students or youths decide to do whatever it takes Fees my friend is the option here . You decide to take your whole semester fee your Helb loan to the Wash wash guy, they will then repeat the same process as before mix the chemical with water take the material deep it in.

One funny thing they will request you to buy basic things like Vitamin C, a foil paper, rubber bands just to fool you, they will then remove the fake material take your original Ksh50,000 place a thousand in the middle of each two thousand fake material notes in the name of strengthening the fake then crush the vitamin C and sprinkle it on the bundle of money then they will wrap it up with a foil paper and tell you to apply pressure on it for approximately 8 hours or 9 hours you will obey and do as asked but what you won’t know is they have switched the bundles of foil paper and have stolen your original Ksh50,000. You remain a fool applying pressure on a bunch of papers while fantasizing on being rich.

After 10 hours you open your bundle only to be met with black papers no money you desperately call your guy he asks you some stupid questions like “did you expose it to heat? Are you sure you applied the exact pressure? And you are like “Msee niliweka hadi kabati juu yake!”

He then asks that you two meet up with the product , you meet him up at a secluded place he comes alone and tells you that you must have done something wrong and the Ksh50,000 has dissolved with the fake money you therefore need another chemical to revive it.

You are now very doubtful but your friend convinces you that it is possible so you ask how much it will take he tell you Ksh50,000 but he himself will sort you out with Ksh25,000 so you just have to look for Ksh25,000 and he also assures you that the revival process will recover the Ksh97,000 too.

Now you are back tarmacking looking for Ksh25,000 after weeks of hustling you finally get it you have sold almost everything you are in debts but your hopes are with the fruit you will reap you then bring the cash to your friend.

You have hustled so hard now you bring the cash back to your friend he then buys the chemical and start conducting the process but while you are in the process police officers raid your hideout they arrest you and your friend.

You are so shaken up and you are taken to the station and charged with possession of counterfeit money they tell you to produce a bribe of Ksh200,000 at this point you have no option but to involve your family members a very shameful ordeal.

Little do you know that it’s all a set up by your friend working with corrupt officers. My friend that is one form of wash wash.

2. The Tender Scam “Wash Wash”

This one is carried out mostly by politicians and their proxies. A notice of Tender / Advertisement is placed in local newspapers and you an aspiring tenderpreneur quickly gets wind of it.

You apply by emailing all the necessary documents, certificate of incorporation, prequalification documents and KRA pins. After a few weeks you get a call and you are told to visit one of the govt offices where you are introduced to person A and B.

The persons asks for your bank statement and after a few chit chat they ask for a bribe in form of a gift so as to award you the tender. Knowing too well that you are going to benefit heavily from the deal you decide to bribe the “officials”.

After a few days or even a week you are awarded with an award letter and an LPO of the things you are to deliver to the govt now the ball is in your court you start the hustle of looking of a way to fulfill your end.

Most govt tenders go even up to billions and you take loans borrow money but eventually do order for the equipment . Little do you know that the said officials have been keeping tab on you and when you are ready to deliver they suggest that they will come and pick it up themselves.

You have the feeling that they have even saved you the cost of transportation . The guys turn up at your place with government vehicles complete with government stamps, seals and documents they are even at times escorted by police officers you then present to them your invoice/delivery receipt and they sign it then they are gone and tell you to expect payment in two weeks, after two weeks you call them you are told to follow up after two weeks there has been delayed payment from treasury. This game will continue until you yourself decide to visit the office only to find out that no such people exist and no such kind of tender was ever issued all the equipment that you supplied have vanished to thin air plus the bribe that you gave out.

You quickly involve the DCI but this is Kenya justice is rare and if they are caught the cases will drag in court for eternity .

Many Kenyans have fallen prey to this scam it often leads to depression and at times even suicide but the perpetrators always walk free flaunting.

3. The Gold Wash Wash Scam

This is perhaps the most dangerous of it all , Presidents and Kings have fallen victims to this type of “Wash Wash”. The players involved are untouchable , the money involved is over Ksh500 million and the people being targeted are mostly foreigners.

These guys sell imaginary gold they mostly target Arabs and Russians who are in possession of dirty money which they want to clean and launder by buying expensive accessories. It’s a syndicate involving prominent politicians, immigration officials, police officers and flamboyant businessmen and bank officials. Now the first thing the client will ask is to see proof of the gold, don’t worry that is sorted they already have a guy at the asset depository section who will provide all the necessary documents to show the existence of the gold.

Then the guy will be lured into the country to see the physical Gold. They will pick him up in posh cars hired probably from car bazaars and drive him to a very luxurious hotel just to make the client feel safe flashy lifestyle is everything remember.

The following day they will take him to the bank where he will see the documentation and the actual gold in the safe, he will then call a professional of his own choosing to verify the authenticity of the gold and after being assured that its 100% authentic.

The client will be satisfied and make a 50% deposit of the total amount of maybe Ksh500 million then he will travel back to his home country and await for the shipment there, the client will then be told that the shipment has faced some setback and requires about Ksh80 million to bribe airport authorities and facilitate a private charter to be used to transport the merchandise the client out of desperation will do so and after a week another game will start of the gold being confiscated by the police another payment will be requested of about Ksh20 million.

The client will begin getting suspicious since so far he has paid over Ksh300 million and still they are demanding this is the part that politician comes in he will travel to the client’s country meet up with him convince him to pay the remaining Ksh200 million and in less than a week he will receive the merchandise which definitely won’t happen. The client on realizing he has been conned will jet into the country and file an official complaint with the authorities you know this will mean he will have to bribe them for swift justice.

The contact guy will be arrested and arraigned in court and a hearing date will be set in 4-5 months. The client being a foreigner will travel back to his home hoping to return after four months. By this time the contact guy will be released on bail of not more than Ksh500,000.

After four months the client returns and this time what meets him is the shock of his life. The court session will be at around 11 AM. The guy will be held at the immigration offices for improper documentation and taken in rounds until 6 PM. He will fail to appear in court and that’s how the case will end plaintiff not present wasting court’s time does not sit well with judges.

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