Kenya CIT firm blames cartel for heists

June 4, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 4 – Security firm G4S is now blaming the recent loss of colossal sums of money to a sophisticated cartel of criminals who have been targeting and even kidnapping some of their staff to ascertain the movement of Cash in Transit (CIT).

The Company’s Chief Operations Director Martin Otiti said members of staff targeted have, at times, been assaulted to reveal the movement of cash and other crucial security information.

In an elaborate interview at the company’s headquarters in Nairobi, Mr Otiti said an internal investigation had revealed an intricate web of extremely sophisticated and dangerous criminals who are specifically targeting the company.

“We know there is a cartel out there which is targeting us and this is because they think that because we command a large market share, they tend to think we are an easy target, but that is not the case,” Mr Otiti said.

He did not however, state the number of employees kidnapped or assaulted to reveal the company’s operations, movement of cash and secret codes.

There was also no immediate data available with the police on the kidnappings against G4S employees.

“The cartels are now going for our staff… they are kidnapping them and in some cases even beating them up to divulge combination codes, but we are telling the public that none of our staff have the combination codes,” he said and revealed that the company was undergoing a major restructuring process aimed at curbing the increased rate of robberies.

He blamed recent incidents on the criminal gang which, he said, has been colluding with some of their staff to divert money in transit, but assured of elaborate measures the company had put in place to curb any more loss of money.

Already, he said, the company had parted ways with up to 37 employees as part of the reforms G4S is undertaking. They include those serving both at the junior and senior ranks.

“With all this incidents happening, we could not have sat back and watched, we had to introduce a special vetting system on our people, we called in the police and they have assisted us a lot,” he said.

Since last year, the company has been hit by a series of heists which have left its image tainted after losing nearly Sh500 million in incidents involving Administration Police officers, outsiders and some of staff.

Several of those implicated in the robberies are currently facing charges in court both in Nairobi and Mombasa where some of the major incidents occurred.

The latest incident occurred early this week at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) when one of its officials who had been sent to deliver some Sh8.3 million from Kisumu lost the cash to a stranger.

The official told police he was approached by a man dressed in the company’s uniform who then received the money and even handed him documents to sign as a confirmation that the money had been delivered.

The official was promptly arrested when he went to report the matter at the JKIA police station and is now facing charges in court.

In November last year, the company lost nearly Sh22 million which were stolen while in transit to Southern Sudan and the dramatic Yaya Centre incident where the company lost an estimated Sh34 million in September after an Administration Police officer was allegedly drugged and left slumbering in a CIT vehicle as the loot disappeared.

In February, more than Sh313 million was stolen in Mombasa in yet another incident which involved the company’s employees and outsiders.

Among the reforms the company is now putting in place, is the introduction of sophisticated CIT vehicles which will not even need escort chase cars.

The vehicles are expected in the country by the end of this month, according to the company’s Communication’s Manager Daniel Okoth.

During Thursday’s interview, the company’s Chief Operations Director said they would also introduce tamper proof bags for CIT services to replace the boxes that are currently in use.

“We have invested heavily in this market, G4S plays a major role in the cash cycle of this economy and we cannot afford to fail to deliver our promise to customers,” he said and announced that the company had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government to be able to train Administration Police officers specifically on CIT procedures.

Mr Otiti said the company is satisfied with new strategies and reforms it has lately put in place.


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