Haji: Charging DTB Bank for aiding terrorism is for their own good

Deputy Senior Public Prosecutor Dorcas Oduor (left) and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji in Parliament yesterday. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

A bank has been accused of helping to finance terror-related crimes by facilitating the withdrawal of Sh30 million by a suspect in one week.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji yesterday said the money withdrawn from Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) Eastleigh branch was wired to Jilib town in Somalia, "which is the headquarters" of Al Shabaab militia.

Mr Haji said the cash was used to finance the dusitD2 Hotel terrorist attack in Nairobi.

“This money was not just going anywhere; it was going to Jilib town, which is the headquarters of Al Shabaab.”

The DPP said money related to terrorism activities was also sent from Kenya to Syria to support the outlawed ISIS group.

Haji said DTB failed to report to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) the suspicious transactions involving the Sh30 million, yet on normal occasions the suspect was withdrawing a maximum of Sh400,000.

Haji told the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee that the court action taken against the bank was good as failing to do so would have attracted the wrath of international banks.

According to Haji, the country must fulfil its international obligations by ensuring that action is taken in cases in which suspicious transactions take place.

“This is actually good for them (the bank). If we didn’t take action like even entering into a plea bargain, then they would have faced the wrath of the international community. It is better we charge them here and enter into a plea bargain than leave them and face the barrage of international organisations.”

DTB's Eastleigh branch manager Sophia Mbogo was taken to court for allegedly failing to report transactions involving Sh34,736,550.

The DPP further claimed the bank had tried to influence his office to avoid being charged. “They have been running around all this time trying to influence us so as not to charge them,” said Haji.

Deputy Senior Public Prosecutor Dorcas Oduor said terror suspects target weak banks that are reluctant to report their financial transactions.

According to her, CBK had given firm instructions to banks to ensure that they report any transactions that go beyond Sh1 million.

“These terrorist suspects target weak banks, weak systems, weak managers, weak tellers and weak watchmen to carry out their activities and they know such banks.”

She said there was no better charge against the bank than that of abetting and aiding terrorism.