, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – Police were on Monday questioning five people, including three senior staff at the Barclays Bank of Kenya Eastleigh branch, following Sunday’s theft of Sh54 million after banking hours.
Among those arrested is a deputy Operations Manager who was largely involved in the bank’s activities before the robbery, and two guards.
The two guards reported to work in the evening to relieve armed Administration Police officers who signed out immediately the bank closed its doors at about 4pm.
“We have arrested five people for stealing over Sh50 million from Barclays Bank, Eastleigh branch and the investigations are underway,” Nairobi Provincial Police chief Anthony Kibuchi said.
The city’s Criminal Investigations Department chief Peter Muinde and detectives from his office spent the better part of Sunday night at bank interrogating staff and guards before a decision was arrived at to have the five detained. They were locked up in separate police stations in Nairobi.
An officer who is part of the investigation team told Capital News that they had been told by bank officials that the stolen money included 16,000 in dollars while the remainder was in shillings.
“It remains a puzzle to us. The staff who were on duty have told us that one of the purported robbers was armed with what appeared like a pistol and those are some of the issues that are being investigated.”
“The story the bank officials are giving is totally not convincing to us because Sh50 million is bulky. None of the people outside the bank reported having seen any activity at the bank’s entrance.
The officials were picked up late on Sunday to explain the mysterious robbery that occurred at about 6pm. Police said: “It appears CCTV cameras were tampered with, we have not been able to see anything.”
According to police, the robbery is alleged to have taken place when a man pleaded to be allowed in to deposit money after the bank had closed its doors only to be followed by two other men who ransacked safes and the strong room and fled with the money.
Security guards arrested were being asked to explain why they failed to raise alarm when they noticed strange activities inside the bank.
The bank operates even on Sunday probably due to the high demand of banking services at the densely populated Eastleigh which is largely inhabited by the Somali community.
The area is host to large shopping malls mainly dealing in imported garments, interior decorations, motor vehicle spare parts as well as other items, offering attractive prices for both wholesalers and retailers.
When Capital News arrived at the bank on Monday, business was going on as usual.
The bank was being guarded by two Administration Police officers and private security guards at the entrance.
“We were not here when the robbery occurred yesterday, but two of colleagues were taken away by the police. We do not know what happened, but we have been told some money was stolen,” one of the guard said, before he noticed that he was speaking to journalists and stopped talking.
The Administration Police officers did not speak to journalists and could not let us proceed past the main entrance.
On Monday, CID officers were still questioning the arrested bank officials and guards and there were indications they could be charged for involvement in the robbery.
Detectives were also optimistic they would recover the stolen cash.
“None of the stolen money has been recovered but I can assure you, it will not take long, the money will be recovered,” Starehe divisional police chief Aphoid Nyaga said.
The last time a bank robbery was reported in Kenya was in April 2011 when armed robbers grabbed Sh30 million from a bank in Nanyuki.
Some of the suspects were arrested and charged days later and some of the money recovered.