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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.

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.

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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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Africa

VIDEO: For Kimani Wanguhu, 22 years in US have borne fruits as he owns 2 successful businesses in two worlds

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

Meet Wilson Kimani Wanguhu. He has lived in the US for 22 years where, besides getting an education, he has also learnt the ropes. Just like many who have relocated from Kenya to US, it was not easy at the beginning. When he landed in the US in 1996, he struggled to pay his fees and sustain himself. “I used to flip burgers and later sold petrol at a gas station,” he says.

But now those are distant memories. His entrepreneurial streak has seen him venture into business and he now sells insurance in the Atlanta, Georgia and water in Nakuru, Kenya.

Wanguhu has put up systems that enable him to run businesses in both cities effectively and his story is an example of the impact of remittances from Abroad. He  says having lived in a country where systems function like clock work, setting up shop in Kenya has had its fair share of challenges.

The former CEO of Kim Media Group and publisher of Kenya Empowerment Newspaper is however upbeat and quite happy with what the has achieved so far. He co-owns Ameritrust Insurance Group and has teamed up with his mom and his younger brother, Ezekiel Manyara, as the co-proprietors of Riftdrops Limited, a water bottling Company with its headquarters in Nakuru.

“If you are doing well in Kenya, stay there…,” he advises would-be migrants. He spoke to Alex Chamwada in this week’s episode of  Daring Abroad. Here is his story.

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First ever Laundromat opens in Kenya

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Kenyan entrepreneurs interested in the laundry industry are set to benefit from the launch of commercial laundromat by Alliance Laundry Systems, the US-based world leader in commercial laundry.

The world leader in commercial laundry is targeting entrepreneurs from major urban centres in the country who will receive full laundromat store concepts with all operational and technical support.

According to Jean-Paul Mailhac, Regional Sales Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa from Alliance, a fast growing demand for laundry services and products, combined with a booming economy and annual growth of more than 6%, makes Kenya the ideal place to start a laundromat.

“We have already witnessed that Kenyan entrepreneurs are passionate about a laundromat. Kenya is the country from where we have received the most inquiries by far. It is quickly becoming a need in this society as people spend a lot of time and effort on their looks,” Mr Mailhac said in a statement on the launch.

Urban centres have been targeted with Laundromats for what Alliance Laundry Systems terms as having the highest profit potential.

“For the majority of Kenyans living in urban areas, owning a washing machine is a considerable investment. The normal practice is washing by hand, an inefficient and environmentally damaging process. With an emerging market for Laundromats, this task can be easily and efficiently taken over,” Mr Mailhac explained.

Alliance attributes the lack of uptake of Laundromats in the country to the lack of global best practice experience, limited local technical expertise and no specific retail cleaning knowledge with Mr Mailhac adding that:

“These are exactly the reasons why we at Alliance decided to promote the laundromat concept. We will give Kenyan entrepreneurs the opportunity to make an excellent return on investment.”

The Laundromats are expected to offer convenience to their users in the urban centres and cutting the cost of running and owning a washing machine from their budgets.

“A Laundromat can professionally clean and dry laundry, making garments look newer, last longer, feel better, eliminating the need to own an expensive machine. One added advantage is having the flexibility to use the laundromat whenever necessary, due to the close proximity of stores. In the right locations, one store can service a 9km2 area – meaning plentiful opportunities in larger cities,” the Alliance Regional Sales Manager Sub-Saharan Africa pointed out.

To ease their entry into the country, Alliance plans to have a number of demonstration events in Nairobi to explain in detail all benefits their laundromat concept has to offer later in the year.

“We can help entrepreneurs from start to finish. Not only by providing the best-in-class machines, but also by giving them all the valuable input needed to operate a successful and profitable laundromat,” said Mr Mailhac.

Alliance Laundry Systems is present in 140 countries with a team of more than 2,900 employees.

-businesstoday.co.ke

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Africa

Larry Madowo threatens to delete his twitter account over trolling

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

Embattled Kenyan journalist Larry Madowo says he is ready to quit Twitter if the San Francisco headquartered company does not respond to his complaints.

In an opinion piece in the influential American Newspaper Washington Post, Madowo says  Twitter is hopelessly broken and often tone-deaf.

“I have over 1 million twitter followers and I am ready to quit,” writes Madowo.

Though one of the most popular media personalities in Kenya with a huge following, Madowo equally has a fair share of “haters” who troll him on social media. A case in point is a photo he posted while in the Emergency Room (ER) after a bicycle accident on Friday with the caption:

“Check out my hot new arm accessory after a trip to the ER for a bad fall while cycling. I’ll be rocking this baby everywhere.”

Larry Madowo in hospital. PHOTO/COURTESY

This did not seem to go well with his critics who, in their thousands, made very derogatory comments.

Rozah Njiruh wrote: “In hospital bed and enjoying as if in a 5 Star hotel? Only that you have money to waste. An ordinary Kenya will break his arm and go for kibarua. In the mean time, NASA died yesterday.”

Wagacunga wrote the following in KSN’s comments section : “Isnt it strange how people in the public eye use the media when it suits them. Like posting a picture of oneself on a hospital bed smiling like the cat that got the cream. When people criticise their action, they cry foul. Why should you not be trolled? Kenya is a country where people cant afford (majority) to go to your kind of hospitals. That picture is sure to irk many. Close your account by all means. Twitter wont die because you aint there.”

A clearly liid Madowo has told off Twitter for ignoring those in the rest of the world. “If you think Twitter is a mess in America, it is even worse for the rest of the world.

Says he: “My experience on the platform has been the most degrading experience of my career. I am constantly considering deleting my account for good. If nothing changes soon, I will have no choice but to deactivate it and walk away from the vile, toxic mess it is for heavy users with strong opinions like me.

Hate and abuse are now synonymous with tweeting, but Twitter’s indifference (or inability) to deal with it has been particularly damaging. I’ve reported multiple accounts that directly threatened me or whose abuse crossed a line — yet there is almost always no response from Twitter — especially if the offending tweets are in local languages. In the most egregious instances, offenders just registered new accounts to continue their hateful campaigns after I blocked them.”

Trolling has been taking a toll on Kenyan celebrities in the recent past as “hate speech” continues to spread on social media like bush fire.

Madowo recently discontinued his engagement as a Daily Nation columnist after his seniors refused to publish last week’s #FrontRow article, which was critical of the government’s decision to shut down four television stations and how media managers handled the situation.

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