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Sh40m found after G4S heist goes to State on suspects' acquittal

National
 A police officer next to a G4S Security van that was vandalised before money was stolen. [File, Courtesy]

In February 2010, a G4S security vehicle was transiting Sh330 million from Mombasa to Nairobi but the occupants were allegedly ambushed by a gang along the way and the money was stolen.

A few weeks later, four suspects Jacob Mutuku Musau, Amos Mutuku Musyoka, Sylvester Mbuli Mbuvi and Patrick Karanja Njau were found in possession of Sh40 million which was believed to be part of the stolen money.

They were charged alongside four other suspects but after seven years of trial, a magistrate court in Mombasa acquitted them on the basis that there was no sufficient evidence linking them to the heist.

After being acquitted, the four laid claim to the Sh40 million which had been held by the prosecution stating that their acquittal means the money belongs to them.

However, the Asset Recovery Agency moved to court to have the money forfeited claiming that it was proceeds of crime.

After two years of trial at the High Court, Justice Esther Maina ruled that the money was part of the loot stolen while the G4S vehicle was on transit from Mombasa and the four individuals cannot be allowed to benefit from proceeds of crime.

“The fact that they were tried by a magistrate and acquitted for lack of evidence does not mean that they should benefit from the Sh40 million found in their possession. The court is satisfied that the funds are proceeds of crime which must be forfeited to the state,” ruled Justice Maina.

The judge declared that being acquitted does not mean that the four individuals did not steal the money since they were given a chance to explain the source of the money but they failed to provide evidence of how they acquired it.

Justice Maina further ruled that since G4S did not prove the money belonged to the company since it was on transit, the Sh40 million will be forfeited to the state agency to hold it on behalf of the government.

ARA in its suit said the four were part of eight people arrested and charged before the Chief Magistrate Court in Mombasa with ten counts of stealing and conspiracy to commit a felony but were released after the court ruled the prosecution did not adduce sufficient evidence.

The agency told the court that on February 26, 2010  which was three weeks after the robbery, a total of Sh23 million was recovered from Musau at his house in Capital Hill Apartments in Kitengela, Kajiado county.

On March 17 2010, ARA said Musyoka led police to the bank of Mwita Siana River in Kitui county where another loot totalling Sh10 million was recovered.

The agency said another Sh1 million was recovered from Mbuvi on March 11 2010 at Muhinde Village in Kitui county while more money was recovered from Njau who at the time was the officer in charge of Kitui Police Station.

The four were arrested and charged alongside Sylverster Mbisi Mutua, Humphrey Wekesa Wanjala, Humphrey Kabanga Njau and Eunice Mwende Musyoka who were found guilty and jailed for five years.

ARA argued that as a result of the decision to acquit the four, they started a process of claiming the Sh40 million which was found in their possession.

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