Bank employees defend Sh6 million theft claims

MOMBASA, KENYA: Two bank workers charged with stealing Sh6 million by allegedly sneaking into the bank 60,000 fake American dollars claim the money was introduced from outside the bank when it was being transported to the main vault.
Richard Garama Kazungu and Danson Mwindi Gibran were charged in 2014 of stealing Sh6million from Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA).
It is alleged that between August 7 and 26 2014 the two at CBA Nyali Branch being dual vault custodians of the bank, they stole the money.
The two denied ever being involved in the scam and were released on a bond of Sh1 million
Kazungu’s lawyer Stephen Jumbale said that the fake notes were introduced from outside the bank by someone else during the transfer to the central vault at Moi Avenue.
“There is the possibility that the notes were introduced after they were received at the central vault,” Jumbale alleged.
On Wednesday, CBA Nyali Branch Manager Samuel Mbwayo told the Senior Resident Magistrate Edgar Kagoni that he was not sure if the two workers stole the Sh6 million by sneaking 60,000 USD counterfeit notes.
“I cannot categorically say that they stole the money,” said Mbwayo.
Mbwayo said that the fake notes had been returned from their central main vault at Moi Avenue after they were released from the Nyali branch.
Mbwayo said that Kazungu and Gibran were the ones in-charge of the vault and were responsible for preparing the money that was being released to other branches.
He said that Kazungu had been spotted through the CCTV cameras accessing the vault alone against the bank policy.
Mbwayo said that Kazungu and Gibran were supposed to access the vault together at any point and one of them had a key to the vault while the other one had a combination key.
“I was shown a CCTV where one of the custodians (Kazungu) accessed the vault alone,” said Mbwayo.
He, however, admitted that other bank staff and he also accessed the vault but for different reasons.
“I did access the vault. Other than the two custodians, other staff members were able to access the vault for different reasons. But I never saw any of the other staff enter the vault from August 8 up to 28 2014,” said Mbwayo.
He said that there was no audit report of the money lost and he could not tell if the serial numbers found on the fake bills were the ones placed in the box before they were released by the two accused.
“I did not see them introduce fake notes and I cannot be able to tell if the fake currencies were introduced from outside,” said Mbwayo.
Gibran lawyer, Amadi Benjamin while re-examining Ambwayo said that out of the 16 CCTV cameras installed in the bank none recorded his client enter the vault room alone, pocket money in his pocket or envelope or placing notes in a box.
Ambwayo admitted that he did not see Gibran assist Kazungu stash money in an envelope or blow any powder on the money.
Ambwayo also said that Gibran did not approach him with the view of settling the money as Kazungu did before he changed his mind.
However, Ambwayo said that both of the employers were responsible for the vault being the custodians.
Ambwayo said that it was the responsibility of the two to oversee the shipment of the money to the central vault by preparing the currencies and placing them in bags and boxes and handing them to the security.

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