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Those who stole depositors’ money must return it, Uhuru declares

 President Uhuru Kenyatta joins worshippers for a Sunday service and launch of the diocesan five-year strategic plan and ACK Thika talent sacco at ACK St Andrew’s Cathedral, Thika yesterday. [PSCU]

NAIROBI: President Uhuru Kenyatta has said bank officials found culpable of stealing depositors' cash will be made to repay.

And two top managers of the troubled Chase Bank, who were interrogated for almost eight hours on Saturday night, insisted no money was lost.

Yesterday, President Kenyatta said the Government instructed Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge to decisively deal with those involved in the collapse of several banks in the recent past.

He asked those serving in the banking sector to be accountable by ensuring that the money depositors entrusted with them was safe.

"The Government is going to streamline the banking system in Kenya to ensure all is well and safe in the sector. The days are numbered for those officials who have been part of the mess in the sector. Those who have played a role in the stealing of depositors' money will be made to return it," said the President in Thika.

The Head of State assured Kenyans that the financial sector was stable and secure, and called for patience as the Government restores sanity in the sector.

The Chase Bank officials were released at around 11pm on Saturday and ordered to go back to the Directorate of Criminal Investigation on Thursday with more evidence to back their claims.

Former officials Zafarullah Khan (chairman) and Dancan Kabui (chief executive officer) reported to DCI headquarters for the grilling session accompanied by their lawyer Cecil Miller.

Miller refused to comment, saying the matter was still under active investigation. But sources said detectives confronted the two with data reportedly showing how they used Islamic banking system to transfer funds with no security.

But the officials are said to have told the officers Islamic banking operates in a different manner and insisted assets provided as security were intact.

"They insist the bank has money but the matter is very complicated. They have until next week (this week) to come with their evidence as investigations go on," said an official familiar of the probe.

The bank was placed in receivership last Thursday and managers asked to report to police for questioning. Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro asked the other six managers from the National Bank of Kenya (NBK) to surrender.

Mr Muhoro said one of the six NBK managers was out of the country and was expected back this week. A lawyer had reported to the DCI headquarters asking that his client be excused because he was out of the country.

Among those wanted are sacked NBK managing director Munir Mohamed, chief finance officer Chris Kisire and ICT director Mohammed Abdalla. Others are Chief Credit Officer George Jaba, acting chief finance officer Wycliff Kivunira and executive director Boniface Biko.

On Friday, police boss Joseph Boinnet issued arrest orders against the two and six senior managers at the equally troubled NBK after they all defied an order to surrender to the police. Mr Boinnet accused the managers of engaging in unethical conduct.

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