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INSIDE STORY: How KCB Thika Sh50m robbery was hatched and executed

On Monday, November 20, as Kenyans waited to hear from the Supreme Court whether there would be another repeat presidential election, there was interesting news coming out of Thika.

Samuel Ng’ang’a, the manager of the Kenya Commercial Bank branch in the busy industrial town 40 kilometres north of Nairobi, had walked into the strongroom and was met by an unusual smell.

Instead of the smell of new banknotes, the room smelt of smoke, as if there had been a fire in what is usually the most secure part of the bank.

ROUTINE BRIEFING

Kiambu Police Commander Adiel Nyange would later give the routine briefing, saying:

“He reported the issue to Thika police station. The police then immediately visited the bank’s strongroom and discovered that items stored there had been disarranged. They also found an uncovered hole that had been dug inside.”

PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI
PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI

More than Sh50 million had been passed through that hole on the floor of the strongroom.

What the police would later discover, according to their records seen by the Sunday Nation, is that the theft was the culmination of a well-executed plan launched in July, and it all happened metres from the doorstep of their station.

Since then, officers have been evasive about their investigations but have arrested and charged four men – Halford Munene Murakaru, Charles Mwangi Murakaru, Julius Ndung’u and Shem Karani Kirimi – with offences related to the theft. All of them pleaded not guilty.

Officers who spoke to the Sunday Nation asked not to be named because the matter is still in court.

BUSINESS IDEAS

It started, according to investigating officers, with a meeting at a restaurant early in June to discuss business ideas.

There were three young men at that meeting and soon after, they were joined by three other men.

As they talked and brainstormed, one of the two men suggested the digging of the tunnel into the bank and, as they discussed how to accomplish that task, it was suggested that they rent stalls at a building near the bank and pretend they sell stationery.

They rented two stalls and branded them Sky Web Concepts.

After some time, the company’s owners realised they needed more space and rented two others, taking the total to four.

PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI
PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI

Three were covered with Sky Web Concepts’ branding material while the one designated as an office was left uncovered.

Neighbours running businesses in the same building would later say they thought that the operators of Sky Web Concepts were in the business of selling books and their covered stalls were stores.

NOT VERY SOCIAL

“The guys seemed to be doing well. They were not very social. They were not the kind of neighbours that greet us every morning.

“So I never bothered to engage them more. They seemed busy and in good business of supplying books to schools because they kept loading cartons into their cars for transport to the various schools,” a stall owner in the building told the Sunday Nation.

Police say from their investigations that the crew had, within the first three weeks of June, assembled all the tools and equipment they needed to drill the tunnel.

Read the full story here.

SOURCE: Sunday Nation