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Police given 10 days to hold suspects in Sh94m Quickmart heist


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

Police have been granted 10 days to hold five suspects arrested in connection with theft of Sh94 million while in transit by a Wells Fargo van.

Police attached at DCI Nairobi region asked the court to allow them to detain the suspects for 21 days as they complete investigations.

Delivering the ruling on Tuesday, November 14 at Milimani court, Principal Magistrate Zainab Abdul ordered that they be detained at Kileleshwa Police Station.

The five suspects James Mbatia Kariuki, Martin Nderi Nganga, Samwel Onyango Haya, Michael Matolo Njeru, and Ismael Patrick Gitonga were arrested and a sum of Sh9.1m out of Sh94 million was recovered from them.

The magistrate ordered that Martin Nganga and James Kariuki be taken to hospital for treatment. The defense lawyers had claimed had the two were tortured in police cells.

According to the police, the Sh94 million was stolen from a Wells Fargo van. The money, being weekend sales, was in transit from Quickmart supermarket to a local bank in the Central Business District.

The five were detained at Capitol hill Police Station, Nairobi.

On Tuesday, their lawyers objected to being detained at Capitol hill Police Station claiming that they had been tortured, instead, preferred them to be detained at Kileleshwa Police Station.

Kimilu in his affidavit claimed that police wanted to detain them for 21 days because they may use the missing Sh85 million yet to be recovered to escape court summons.

"The suspects committed the offense in a group and others are still at large and hiding. If they are released they are able to influence other suspects to escape," the investigator said.

He added that the suspects were arrested under difficult circumstances as they were on the run and hiding as they knew they were being hunted.

Kimilu added that the suspects were arrested in different locations within Nairobi and its environs between November 10 and 13.

The suspects were arrested in Rongai, Kayole, and Thika Road in an operation on Saturday, November 11.

"Your honor while giving a ruling give a consideration that the suspects have been in custody for more than five days and utmost give them seven days," said the defense team.

 They also said that the DCI, which is funded by the taxpayer, has the capability to complete their investigations within a shorter time than the 21 days asked for.

According to police, a getaway car that was used by the suspects to escape with the loot on November 6 was found in Rongai.

DCI had earlier released images of two Wells Fargo staff who disappeared with the Sh94 million on the morning of Monday last week.

The suspects who were identified as Daniel Mungai Mugetha (crew commander) and Anthony Nduiki Waigumo (driver) made away with the company’s truck shortly after the money box was loaded, leaving behind the police escort car that was waiting to be flagged off.

They are yet to be found.

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