NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 6 – Security concerns regarding insuring motor vehicles arose on Thursday in the terror case facing four Somalis suspected of aiding the September 21, 2013 Westgate attack.
Insurance agent Saleh Warfa told Chief Magistrate Daniel Ochenja’s court that while his company, Warfa and Associates Agency, insured the Mitsubishi Lancer – KAS 575X which ferried the terrorists – they did not even have the signature of the policy holder on file.
One of his agents signed the application for the third party policy both on their behalf and on behalf of the policy holder, Abdullahi Dugon Subow.
“You know what they (Somalis) do normally is tell you no problem, just sign for us. Some of them just call and we sign on their behalf and deliver the insurance certificates,” he testified.
The practice, his clerk John Gitu went on to tell the court was rampant. “Our Eastleigh clientele are always in a hurry.”
Gitu went on to tell the court that it was he who received the Sh2,000 payment for the Mitsubishi’s insurance certificate which had a month-long validity period.
“It was to be valid from September 9, 2013 to October 8, 2013. And the fact that it was just for a month didn’t strike me as suspicious as it was to be for a year but was being paid for in instalments,” he testified.
And although he claimed to remember this exchange, he was unable to describe Subow.
In the end he was backed into a corner by the defence and was forced to admit he could not even remember if he was paid by cash or via M-PESA.
“What happened is I was watching the news and heard that the terrorists used a Mitsubishi with the registration KAS 575X and when I entered this into our system I found we had insured it and that I had signed for the receipt,” he testified.
He said he didn’t usually even require a copy of the logbook before processing the insurance paper work.
“If it’s a comprehensive cover, the policy holder has a month to provide us with a copy of their logbook but with third party we don’t,” he said.
A response that led defence lawyer Mbugua Mureithi to quip, “they are facilitating terror.”
But prosecuting attorney Mungai Warui’s only response was, “I hope you’ve learnt your lesson.”
In 1998 the US Embassy was attacked by terrorists using a car bomb and in the worst ever terror attack since then, on Westgate, questions arose as to how the terrorists went about securing the resources they needed for the attack, including the car, undetected.