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Business

3 relatives in court over theft of Sh50m from Thika Bank

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Three relatives suspected to be behind the theft of Sh50 million from the Thika KCB Bank branch last week have been charged in court even as details of their arrest and recovery of part of the cash remained a mystery.

Thieves accessed the bank’s strong room after digging an underground tunnel a week ago and made away with the money.

The three suspects, Halford Munene Murakaru, 32, his brother Charles Mwangi Murakaru, 30, and their cousin, Julius Ndungu Wainaina, 30, were arrested on Saturday at Marurui in Kasarani, Nairobi, following a tip off to the police.

The suspects, who appeared emotionless, were Monday charged with breaking into the bank and stealing money as well as handling stolen money after they were linked to an estimated Sh20 million that was recovered from a rented residential house in Juja on the same day they were arrested.

According to the charge sheet, on diverse days between November 18 and 20, the three, jointly with others not in court, broke and entered the bank through an underground tunnel and stole Sh52.65 million.

They denied the charges before Chief Magistrate Teresia Murigi, who remanded them until November 30 when a determination on whether they will be released on bond will be made.

This was after the prosecution, led by State Counsel Stella Oyagi, successfully applied to have them detained on grounds that they were likely to interfere with the case if released and that they were likely to flee.

Ms Oyagi said reliable reports indicated that before their arrest, they were planning to leave the country.

Mr Samuel N’gan’ga, who is the bank’s branch manager, has been listed as one of the witnesses in the case.

GRADUATES

Mr Munene is a graduate with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology while Mr Ndung’u graduated with a degree in electrical and electronics engineering from the University of Nairobi.

Mr Mwangi declined to disclose to the police the university he went to, although he is a holder of a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering, and, together with his brother, they are reported to have studied at Nyeri High School where they scored As.

Police said the three were behind the leasing of a stall in a commercial premises next to the bank, ostensibly to run a bookshop, although there is a mastermind and the officers said they are following leads that will lead to his arrest.

Thika police boss Willy Simba and the region’s head of criminal investigations Mr Linus Owango declined to give the exact circumstances of the arrest of the three suspects and the subsequent recovery of the money, only saying that the suspects led them to where the money was hidden.

According to Mr Simba, the suspects, who in the entire court process managed to hide their faces, had rented a house in Marurui estate which is in Kasarani division.

NEIGHBOURS

Neighbours who became suspicious of them notified the police and after being interrogated, the suspects led them to the Juja house where they found the cash stuffed in plastic tanks.

However, Mr Simba declined to reveal what made the neighbours in Marurui suspicious.

He also did not reveal their connection with a women who is reported to have rented the house where the money was found.

On his part Mr Owango, said the money and the suspects were found in both Juja and Marurui although the latter did not appear in the charge sheet.

The suspect’s lawyer, Zacy Opiyo, while applying for bond, told the court that he was informed that the suspects were arrested in a house in Thika.

The landlord of the house where the money was recovered told Nation that last week, a lady approached the caretaker with the intention of renting one of the units and brought some of the items which may have included the money into the house.

The arrest of the three brings to five the number of suspects arrested in connection with the heist.

The caretaker and the custodian of the keys to the commercial premises where the suspects had leased a stall were arrested and arraigned in court last week and the police were allowed to continue detaining them to facilitate investigations.

-nation.co.ke

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Business

Alarm over fake condoms ahead of Valentine’s Day

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As Kenyans prepare to join the rest of the world in marking Valentine’s Day, Population Service Kenya has raised an alarm over fake Trust Studded condoms circulating in the market.

Such replicas cannot pass a simple test of ensuring you enjoy safe sex without getting pregnant or contracting the sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/Aids.

Even for men, there’s need to be extremely cautious when buying the Trust Studded condoms lest you land in big trouble for making your partner conceives by using fake condoms produced by rent hunters.

Population Services Kenya says it kicked off a country-wide safety sensitisation campaign on February 10 to educate consumers on unique product markings to enable them identify the right Trust Studded condoms in the market.

In an advert placed in the local dailies, PS Kenya issued a directive to the public to be aware of the appropriate labeling of the Trust Studded brand of condoms.

“Look out for the marks of quality on our packs to ensure that you are purchasing authentic Trust packs,” read the advert.

PS Kenya has also advised the public to stay “vigilant and attentive to product unique quality markings and the exact positioning on the packs which include the name Studded, the mark of quality (triple tested) and quantity of condoms in the pack.”

“The transmedia campaign will continue to sensitise consumers and also seek to drive awareness throughout the distribution channels in order to dissuade the unscrupulous individuals from misleading Kenyans to purchase counterfeit condoms that do not guarantee quality. It is unfortunate that these individuals are making attempts to erode the efforts made as a country in achieving health impact through distribution of high quality condoms,” added PS Kenya.

To ensure you buy the authentic Trust studded condoms which are the most affected by the imitation network, the distributors have in the local dailies urged that we all look out for particular marks of quality on the packets.

The original condom packs have the brand label ‘Studded’ embossed at the middle of the packs and appears in bold, a feature the counterfeiters are trying hard to poll into their kill-for-money venture. Also missing on the fake contraceptives are the distributors’ contact details and an additional distinctive features that PSK has warned users have to be on the lookout for to ensure they get the most out of their quest for protected sex.

Health experts warn that such faux products not only expose one to risks such as bursting during sex but are also made of substances that are harmful to the human body. Most of the cheap lubricating oil such underground manufacturers use produces a deadly smell, a nauseating one.

In 2013, detectives stormed a Chinese illegal production line producing millions of counterfeit brand-name condoms. These were close to perfect in appearance, imitations of top brands including Durex, Contex and Jissbon.

A whole 4.65 million already packaged prophylactics and another 1,100 pounds of unpackaged condoms were found at the smelly scene and all these would end up in markets that thrive in fakes and low cost products.

Interestingly, these products were being placed on the country’s most popular online shop to capitalise on people who fear physically asking for condoms across counters.

The factory could release at least 20,000 a day barely four months in operations and had hired dozens to lubricate and package the latex.

On the Nairobi streets, with the recent surge of fake Trust studded condoms in the market, don’t just be keen on fake devices, carefully seek authenticity proves on the condoms at pharmacies, kiosks, sex toy retailer shops and even supermarkets.

 

 Business Today and Citizen Digital. 

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Africa

VIDEO: AU summit ends in Addis amid claims of bugging by the Chinese

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The 30th AU summit wound up Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after 8 days of deliberations on a myriad of topics.

Meanwhile, China has dismissed reports it bugged the African Union (AU) headquarters as “preposterous”.

Kuang Weilin, the Chinese ambassador to the AU, told reporters in Ethiopia the “absurd” claim in France’s Le Monde was “very difficult to understand”.

He spoke out three days after the newspaper published an article claiming data from the Chinese-built AU building was being copied to Shanghai.

The article said the discovery resulted in all the AU servers being switched.

Le Monde spoke to a number of anonymous sources, who claimed the alleged transfer was taking place late at night [link in French], and was only spotted in January 2017 due to the spike in activity between midnight and 02:00, despite no-one being in the building.

It was suggested the alleged data transfer had been taking place since 2012, when the building, in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, was opened.

Officials also brought in security experts from Algeria to sweep the entire headquarters for potential bugs, the newspaper said, leading to the discovery of microphones in desks.

But Mr Kuang – who hailed the headquarters as a “monument” to his country’s relationship with the continent – said it was entirely untrue.

“I really question its intention,” he told reporters on Monday. “I think it will undermine and send a very negative message to people. I think it is not good for the image of the newspaper itself.

“Certainly, it will create problems for China-Africa relations.”

-Agencies

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Business

VIDEO: Veteran journalist Emmanuel Juma of Bulls Eye fame sacked by NMG

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Veteran journalist Emmanuel Juma is among employees sacked from NTV as Nation Media Group (NMG) kicked off its retrenchment on Monday, according to a Kenyan daily, Business Today.

Mr Juma, who was NTV news manager, is known more for his signature infotainment programme Bull’s Eye. He joined NTV in 2005 from KTN, where he ran a similar programme called The Parting Shot.

It was not immediately clear why Juma was edged out from NTV, but the company has been citing redundancy as the main reason for firing staff. Some media observers say it could be a fallout with management from the last genera; elections.

Also sacked from NTV is Lolani Kalu, who was famours for the Malimwengu, a Kiswali programme that featured unique cultures and innovations across the country.

Lolani Kalu is a veteran journalist, multi-linguist, musician, actor and comedian as well as Swahili poet. As a Journalist he has had a rare opportunity of interacting with Kenya’s diverse and rich arts and culture.

WATCH LOLANI KALU IN ACTION

Lolani is the founder of Safari47.org, which was established as a way to identify, nurture and develop raw talent identified in 47 counties of Kenya.

The others fired from NTV include Cromwel Onyango, NTV Head of Graphics, journalist Steve Mwei, and others identified as Maritim and Mutesa.

The biggest shock is the exit of Emmanuel Juma, who has been a strong pillar in the NTV news management team. Those who have worked with Juma say he is a strict but witty. Juma started his career at KBC before moving to KTN where he shot to fame, thanks to his high pitched and poetic tone of reporting.

ONE OF JUMA’S BEST BULL’S EYE EPISODES

According to sources at Nation Centre, more employees from NTV’s technical department have also been fired in a layoff that appears to target more of the broadcast division. After NTV focus will turn to the newspaper side where some journalists will be pushed out while the newsdesk will be overhauled.

Nation Media Group has earmarked 140 employees for firing as it cuts costs to keep profits high. This is the second phase of restructuring. The first was implemented exactly a year ago.

The company’s management is under pressure to grow profit in a tight market with growing competition. The CEO, Mr Joe Muganda, is also leaving next week to join Vivo, after a false start at the media house.

SOURCE-businesstoday

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