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Friday, May 24, 2013

Kenya's Masonic Scam Artists

Masonry's recent increase in popularity brings problems as well. Nairobi has been beset with conmen who promise Masonic membership and fat wads of cash as a reward in return for Masonic membership.

From the Kenyan Digital Standard:
Every afternoon from 3pm, a procession of posh cars with tinted windows delivers an average of 70 ‘worshipful brothers’ — many of them prominent Nairobians — to the Masonic temple located off Nyerere Road.
Long considered a preserve of the rich and famous, the secretive Freemasons now seem to be attracting hordes of potential followers from unlikely quarters.
Not too long ago, any association with the organisation, which some believe worships the devil and has bizarre rituals, would have inspired deep furrows of the brow. But, as The Nairobian found out in its investigations, things seem to be changing — and they are not all glittery.
Desperate Nairobians out to do everything to join this exclusive fraternity, are now falling into the hands of conmen, who at a fee are promising membership.
“They (the con artists) hang around the gate and speak to curious visitors, who want to join. Since it is not easy for anyone to just walk in here, the promise to give access is usually given at a high price,” a worker at the Masonic Hall, who sought anonymity for fear of losing his job, told us.
The cons have gone the extra mile by setting up blogs and websites that hawk their services. One of the sites has the banner, “How to join Freemasonry worldwide” and goes on to boast: “In Freemasonry we believe that we were born in paradise and no member should struggle in this world. Hence all our new members are given Money Rewards once they join in order to upgrade their lifestyle.”
This site that lists registration fees of up to Sh20,000 to join Freemasonry promises a reward of  $200,000 (Sh16.6 million) immediately after joining.
Facing hard times, a number of Kenyans, who regard the mysterious organisation as a short cut to riches, are also posting their numbers online in sites where Freemasonry is mentioned, hoping that someone will contact them.
When we called one of the numbers listed, the man who answered the call said he was ready to pay Sh1 million to be a Freemason while another pledged to offer any sacrifice asked for, in a shocking revelation of the lengths some are prepared to go for supposed wealth found in Freemansonry.
“To ensure that I only deal with serious people and also limiting the number of petitions, I require that you send Sh1,500 through M-Pesa to (number redacted) after which I will call you to arrange on how we can socially meet and get to introduce you to a lodge of convenience,” a statement in one of the online fraudsters reads.

Read more here

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