Used Japanese motor vehicles on sale at a yard in Mombasa. photo | kevin odit
A delegation of Japan’s used car dealers has arrived in Nairobi to help craft strategies against fraud that has seen Kenyans lose millions of shillings through online vehicle purchases.
Officials of Japan Used Motor Vehicle Exporters Association (JUMVEA) are expected to meet with top government officials, local used car dealers and the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) among other stakeholders.
Most of the victims of the fraud have been lured by online con artists who offer cars at significant discounts compared to established trading houses including the 240 members of JUMVEA such as Sun Corporation and Amagasaki Motor.
The fraudsters fail to deliver the vehicles after they are paid, leaving their victims with a legal and logistical nightmare trying to get their cash back.
“This is to inform that (JUMVEA) has requested for facilitation of appointments with Kenyan official for four of its members,” Kenya’s ambassador to Japan Solomon Maina wrote to the ministry of foreign affairs in a letter dated March 21.
“JUMVEA, which is the legally recognised used motor exporters in Japan, like the embassy, regrets that many Kenyans are losing valuable cash to fraudulent vehicle dealers and would like to discuss how to solve the situation.”
Kenya Auto Bazaar Association (KABA), which represents the interests of used car dealers, is among the key stakeholders that will engage with JUMVEA officials in talks that are expected to be concluded by the end of the week.
Mr Maina said Kenya’s embassy in Japan is inundated with appeals for assistance from Kenyans who have fallen prey to the unscrupulous dealers.
“Despite concerted effort, the embassy is unable to effectively solve these matters given the fact that the mission has no mandate to intervene in private business affairs,” he wrote in the letter.
“It should also be noted that fraud is considered as a civil offence by the Japanese law and authorities advise that such offences should be addressed though Interpol or by hiring lawyers for due legal processes.”
He added that the fraudsters use fake internet addresses that are not officially registered.