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Sh80m heist suspects due in court

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 3 – Six managers from the Co-operative Bank and security firm G4S have a case to answer in relation to Friday\’s theft of Sh80 million which was stolen from the bank.

Detectives investigating the case told Capital News that four managers from the bank and two from the security firm were to be arraigned in court on Monday to face theft-related charges.

The seventh suspect is a technician working with a local security firm who was arrested on Sunday morning.

"After our investigations, we are convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that the people we are holding have a case to answer, they will be in court tomorrow [Monday]," one officer said.

Police did not disclose positions held by the bank and G4S officials, but maintained that they are senior managers.

It is understood those arrested at the bank are officials who deal with the dispatch of money from the strong room.

A senior police officer privy to the investigations has told Capital News that the suspects will spend the second night in police custody as detectives prepare to arraign them in court on Monday.

He said a bank official and another employee of G4S were released earlier Friday after they were found to have been innocent.

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"Most of the officials we were holding were helping us understand the process of dispatching money to and from the bank, there are those who are innocent and we can not hold them in custody," our police source said.

Police said investigations have shown that there was negligence or actual coordination of the suspects arrested together with people who posed as G4S employees and escorted by Administration Police officers who collected the money from the bank in broad daylight.

"It can not just happen like that, there was proper coordination by the insiders. It was a pure inside job," another officer said.

Head of the Special Crime Prevention Unit Richard Katola told Capital News they are still looking for suspects who posed as G4S employees and collected 80 million shillings from the Cooperative Bank headquarters in Nairobi on Friday.

The Co-operative Bank has not released any statement to the press since the theft occurred on Friday.

G4S security company on its part sent a statement to newsrooms on Friday disowning a van which was branded in their co-operate colours complete with logos which was found abandoned in Upper Hill.

"The fraudsters picked up the cash consignment this [Friday] afternoon and later abandoned the van in Kilimani area," G4S Managing Director John Wheather said in a statement.

In his statement, Mr Wheather said the vehicle involved in the incident was a G4S look-alike van and "was kitted and branded like the blue G4S CIT vans."

The security company has suffered repeated high profile robberies in the recent past losing hundreds of millions in the last year. The latest heist is the sixth since late last year with the total loss running to almost Sh500 million.

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In March the company lost Sh300 million in another robbery in Mombasa.

"We would like to reiterate that G4S is continuously improving its systems and processes, including working closely with the Government as well as instituting stringent staff vetting and monitoring of vehicles, among other measures," said Mr Wheather.

He added: "We emphasise our core values of customer focus, expertise, performance, best people, integrity, collaboration and teamwork to ensure that customer interests are protected."

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