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Safe boxes fiasco forces Barclays to suspend service

By Steve Mbego | March 21st 2019
By Steve Mbego | March 21st 2019
Safe box nabbed with Sh2 billion fake foreign currency at Barclays Bank Queens Way Branch. Photo: Courtesy.

Two days after police found fake currency and gold stashed in two safe deposit boxes at a Barclays Bank branch in Nairobi, the transnational has suspended the service.

The bank says it reached the decision to suspend the service due the emergence of new financial crime risks associated with its use.  

"As an extra precaution, we have taken a decision not to take any new safe deposit boxes and are working with our clients to review the existing safe deposit boxes," Jeremy Awori Barclays Bank Chief Executive Officer said in a statement to newsrooms.

The bank also guaranteed the public of safety using its facilities noting that the items contained in the safe deposit boxes there pose no threat to them.

Awori assured customers that currency dispensed over its counters and ATMs is genuine.

"We would like to reassure you that we have robust processes to ensure that all currency dispensed over our counters and ATMs is genuine and that items held in safe deposit boxes are separate from the bank deposits," said the statement.

Officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations on Tuesday raided the bank's Queensway branch and arrested four suspects in connection to Sh2 billion fake money stored in a customer's safe box.

The four suspects are: Erick Adede, Ahmed Shah, Elizabeth Muthoni and Irene Wairimu Kimani. The safe boxes belong to Erick Adede.

Police made another raid on the branch on Wednesday and recovered fake gold weighing 60 kgs stored in a different safe box rented by Adede.

On Thursday, the suspects were arraigned before resident Magistrate Zainab Abdulon.

The prosecution, however, requested the court to allow the police to detain the suspects for ten days pending investigations.

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