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Police imposters escape with Sh72 million from bank ATM in Nairobi West

By Cyrus Ombati | September 6th 2019

Robbers posing as police officers yesterday morning stole Sh72 million from Standard Chartered bank's Nairobi West branch.

In a dramatic robbery that police said could have been an inside job, three armed men dressed in replica Administration Police uniforms stormed the bank as the money was being delivered.

The money was being transported from G4S headquarters in Industrial Area to Standard Chartered's Nairobi West branch - a distance of about four kilometres.

According to police, the thieves seemed to have prior knowledge of how the cash was being moved. They were armed with rifles.

G4S officers who were transporting the money said they thought the thieves were police officers assigned to escort the cash.

The criminals executed the robbery without firing a single bullet.

Police said part of the cash was stolen as the G4S employees transporting the money readied themselves to remove it from the van to the bank. The rest of it was withdrawn from an ATM in Nairobi West.

According to police, the money left Industrial Area in two vans at around 6am.

When the vans reached Nairobi West, the thieves masquerading as police officers demanded that the G4S employees hand over the money to them.

They also demanded ATM passwords from the employees and withdrew the money that was in the ATM.

They packed the cash amounting to Sh72 million in 13 bags, loaded it into a waiting car and sped off. They left the G4S personnel stranded at the bank.

Nairobi police boss Philip Ndolo said the G4S personnel reported the matter long after the the thieves had gone.

He said all the staff involved in the movement of the cash would be interrogated.

Another senior officer who visited the scene said the incident was an inside job and vowed to get to the bottom of it.

Security firms

Standard Chartered management was yet to respond to queries about the incident by the time we went to press.

In new plans that are being mooted by the Government, Cash-in-Transit business will be solely undertaken by private security firms.

The State plans to withdraw police from that service.

Private security companies will be licensed to carry guns so as to guard the money as it is being moved.

The Standard Chartered incident is not the first involving money on transit being stolen.

In June this year, police and staff of a private security company were placed under investigation after Sh2 million they were escorting went missing.

The money had been collected from Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, and was headed for a strong room in Industrial Area.

In the same month, a policeman and a private security guard were arrested following the disappearance of Sh4 million on transit.

The money was the day's collection from Naivas Supermarket at Mountain Mall along Thika Road.

The two were among four security officers who had collected the money at around 9pm before two gunmen grabbed it.

In 2016, an employee of a security company allegedly disappeared with Sh25 million at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

Foreign currencies

The security guard was flying from Mombasa to Nairobi with the money in foreign currencies.

He had collected the cash in Nyali, Mombasa, and was to deliver it to Nairobi for a client bank.

The man, who had told his colleagues that he would land at JKIA at 9.30am, arrived much earlier at 7.30am.

His colleagues who arrived with police at 9.30am to pick him up found him long gone.

Airport authorities told them the flight had landed two hours earlier, and their colleague had gone out through Terminal 2.

In 2014, security officers who were transporting Sh78 million to the Central Bank vanished with it.

Police later found Sh13.4 million abandoned in a van in Huruma, Nairobi. The same van that the officers - three policemen and three private security guards - were using to ferry the money to Central Bank.

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