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Quick Mart sues Wells Fargo over Sh94 million heist

Business
 

Five suspects linked to Sh94 million Wells Fargo heist arraigned at Milimani court. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

A Kenyan retail chain company Quick Mart has gone after Wells Fargo, a security firm, over the theft of Sh94 million from cash-in-transit vehicle.

Quick Mart in the case filed before the Commercial Court in Nairobi accused Wells Fargo of breach of contract.

It stated that it entered into valuables transit contract with the security firm on February 8, 2021, with an understanding that it would transport cash and other valuables from the outlets and deposit them at Family Bank.

Quick Mart said that the agreement was that Wells Fargo would ensure that it would perform its task with care and reasonable skill.

Further, it stated that they also settled for the security firm to ensure that its employees would count the money in the presence of Quick Mart employees before collecting the same for banking.

After banking, the firm would return slips to each branch for confirmation.

However, Quick Mart argued that Wells Fargo collected Sh 94.918 million from all Nairobi branches but never banked the same. The collection was done on November 4 and 5 last year.

The supermarket chain stated that the security company informed it that the money had been stolen and offered to sort it out.

“According to the defendant (Wells Fargo), against their cap of Sh20 million per cash box and transfer, it had allegedly lumped the entire Sh94,918,750 into one motor vehicle to apparently deliver to the plaintiff’s accounts,” the case filed by Wachira Wekhomba advocates reads in part.

According to the court documents, Quick Mart’s OTC branch lost Sh3.1 million, Lavington Sh3.0 million while the rest lost between Sh22,000 and Sh1.8 million.

Quick Mart claimed that owing to Wells Fargo’s failure to reimburse the lost money within the agreed 30 days, it had to seek Sh95 million bailout from Family Bank.

“The defendant failed to deposit the monies within the stipulated time and in breach of the contract. The defendant stopped responding to the plaintiff’s communication and request for an update,” reads the court papers.

The retail chain said that on November 7, 2023, it wrote to Wells Fargo’s MD Richard Baudry asking for the money but the firm allegedly was not committed to resolve the issue.

Following the incident, Joel Oyuchi Mwelesi, Harrison Mugendi,Martin Nderi Ng’ang’a, Njeru, James Mbatia Kariuki, Ismael Patrick Gitonga and Ronald Ouma Oluu were charged with conspiring to steal the money on November 6, 2023 in Nairobi.

They were also charged with stealing and handling stolen goods.

Ng’ang’a was also charged separately with handling stolen goods and destroying evidence.

The police said that an Isuzu Canter, with registration number KBA 517 T, was supposed to deliver the money to Family Bank, Kenyatta Avenue, on behalf of Quick Mart.

However, the two Wells Fargo employees, Daniel Mungai and Anthony Nduiki, sneaked out without police escort and vanished with the cash.

The police officers who were supposed to escort them raised the alarm when they did not see the vehicle.

At the High Court, Quick Mart claimed that the theft had put it into a losses hole.

In one of the letters between Wells Fargo and Quick Mart, the former had informed the latter that it had immediately notified its insurance firm about the loss of money.

“The plaintiff continues to incur loss from loss of its monies. Additionally, the plaintiff incurred extra loss through obtained unplanned facility from the bank to plug the cash deficit the defendant caused. The facility attracted costs and interest,” it claimed.

Quick Mart wants the court to find that Wells Fargo breached its part of bargain. It is also seeking orders to force the security firm to pay for the lost money.

In addition, it is seeking interest from the date the money got lost and costs of the case.

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