Mr Halford Munene Murakaru, Mr Charles Mwangi Murakaru and Mr Julius Ndung’u Wainaina in a Thika court when they denied stealing more than Sh50 million from a bank. PHOTO | ERIC WAINAINA | NATIONMr Halford Munene Murakaru, Mr Charles Mwangi Murakaru and Mr Julius Ndung’u Wainaina in a Thika court when they denied stealing more than Sh50 million from a bank. PHOTO | ERIC WAINAINA | NATION
By ERIC WAINAINA, @EWainaina [email protected]

Three relatives suspected of involvement in the theft of Sh50 million from Kenya Commercial Bank appeared in a Thika court on Monday.

Mr Halford Munene Murakaru, 32, his brother Charles Mwangi Murakaru, 30 and their cousin Julius Ndung’u Wainaina, 30, were arrested in Marurui estate, Kasarani, following a tip-off from the public, police said.

They were charged with breaking into the bank and stealing money as well as handling stolen cash after being linked to nearly Sh20 million that was found in a rented house in Juja on Saturday.

UNDERGROUND TUNNEL

According to the prosecution, the three, with others still at large, entered the bank through an underground tunnel they dug and stole Sh52.65 million between November 18 and 20.

The court was told that they also stole 95 Australian dollars, €185, £1,630, Tsh271,000, Ush947,000, $5,781, R40 and five Canadian dollars belonging to the bank.

The three, who hid their faces while in the dock, faced a second count of handling stolen property.

The court heard that on November 25 at Jolly Land estate, Juja, in Kiambu County, the three dishonestly handled Sh17,135,000.

According to the prosecution, the Murakaru brothers and Mr Wainaina were also found with $1,311, £340, €3,660, five Canadian dollars, 85 Australian dollars, Tsh46,000 and Ush20,000 yet they knew it was stolen.

They denied the charges and will remain in remand until Thursday, when a determination on whether they will be released on bond will be made.

LEAVE THE COUNTRY

Ms Stella Oyagi, the prosecutor, applied to have the three detained on grounds that they were likely to interfere with investigations. She said police had information that the men planned to leave the country.

KCB Thika branch manager Samuel Ng’ang’a was listed as one of the witnesses.

Mr Munene is a graduate of agricultural engineering from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology while Mr Ndung’u graduated with a degree in electrical and electronics engineering from the University of Nairobi.

Mr Mwangi is believed to have a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering. He went to Nyeri High School.

Detectives said the three men were behind the leasing of a stall next to the bank, adding that they were following leads that could lead to the arrest of the mastermind of the heist.

On Monday, Thika police chief Willy Simba and the region’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss Linus Owango refused to give details of the arrest of the three in neighbouring Nairobi County and the subsequent recovery of the money, only saying that the men led them to the place where the cash was hidden.

SUSPICIOUS MOVEMENT

Mr Simba said neighbours of the three at their rented a house in Marurui became suspicious of their movements and reported them to the police.

“After interrogation, they led detectives to the Juja house, where the money was found stuffed in plastic tanks,” said Mr Simba.

He, however, refused to say what made neighbours and the public suspicious of Mr Ndung’u, Mr Wainaina and Mr Mwangi.

While applying for bond, the men’s lawyer, Mr Zacy Opiyo, said he was informed that they were picked up from a house in Thika.

The landlord of the house where the money was found told the Nation yesterday that a woman approached her caretaker asking for a house and took in some items “which may have included the money”.

He added that the woman, “whom I never saw”, paid Sh21,000 for December rent and a one-month deposit.

The caretaker and custodian of the keys to the stall the suspects leased next to the bank to run a bookshop appeared in court last week.