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Police report: Bank clients lose millions in days

Bank customers have been robbed of at least Sh10 million in the past two weeks, police records show.

One person was shot dead and several injured during the robberies. Police also say that banks have lost millions of shillings in the same period, mostly to dishonest employees who override systems or collude with outsiders.

Police, however, say the figures — especially on internal bank thefts — may not be reliable.

“Banks keep information secret to maintain customer confidence and reputation,” said a senior police officer.

Head of the Special Crimes Prevention Unit Saidi Kiprotich on Sunday said new gangs had sprouted after police dismantled two notorious ones in Nairobi and Mombasa.

Late last year, police arrested an officer-cum-musician Alphonse Nyasetia alias Alphamatone and charged him with robbing bank customers.

Victims say the gangs operate in fours. In Nairobi, most attacks take place in the city centre, Starehe, Embakasi and Makadara divisions.

In the past one week, at least five customers were robbed as they left banks in Eastleigh.

On March 4, M-Pesa agent Atanus Bula was shot dead minutes after withdrawing Sh100,000 from a bank in Mtwapa.

SHOT DEAD

A witness said Mr Bula was confronted by a man who ordered him to surrender the money. The M-Pesa agent hesitated and the man shot him three times. He died on the spot.

Police are also looking for the man in charge of the cash office at a Kisauni bank, believed to have stolen Sh10.8 million last Monday.

Operations Manager Zaitun Salim Kaole said she realised that Mr Tyson Kimanzi Mutisya had not reported on duty by 1.30pm and on checking, she  discovered the money missing.

Last week, Mr David Rono lost Sh850,000 to robbers on Harambee Avenue, Nairobi. He had just withdrawn $2,800 (Sh252,000) from a bank on the same street, a few metres from the Police headquarters. He had another Sh600,000.

As he left the bank, a grey car with four occupants stopped next to him and one of the men, who was armed with a pistol, ordered him in. They took his cash, phone and ID card.

On March 4, Shirugu Secondary School head James Malenya withdrew Sh128,000 from a bank in Webuye and boarded a matatu. Minutes later, a white car blocked the matatu and the occupants, wielding pistols, ordered him out.

They handcuffed the teacher and bundled him into their car before robbing him of the cash, a laptop and phone. He was also injured.

Police have advised people leaving banks to be aware of their surroundings and conceal bank bags. They can also seek police escort.