Eastleigh bank boss puts Safaricom on the spot in transfer of terror money
A bank manager suspected to have facilitated the financing of the attack on the DusitD2 Complex in Riverside, Nairobi, has denied involvement and wants to be freed from police custody.
In response to a request by the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit to have her detained for 30 days alongside seven other terrorism suspects, Diamond Trust Bank Eastleigh Branch Manager Sophia Njoki Mbogo said no known terrorism suspects have accounts with the bank.
In a filed affidavit, Ms Mbogo asserted that she has never dealt with any of the terrorism suspects, personally or professionally.
“I am an innocent bystander in this criminal inquiry and there is no nexus between me and the other five terror suspects. And further, I am a law-abiding citizen with no previous criminal record,” she said.
The mother of two was on Wednesday arraigned before Nairobi Senior Principal Magistrate Martha Mutuku alongside Mr Hassan Abdi Nur, Mr Ismael Sadiq Abitham, Mr Ali Khamisi Ali, Mr Abdinoor Maalima Osmail, Mr Abdullahi Muhumed Hassan and Mr Isaak Omar Mohammed.
Police accuse her, as the branch boss, of allowing huge sums of monies to be cashed within a very short time, without question.
Regarding the withdrawal of huge amounts from the bank via M-Pesa, Ms Mbogo said the bank simply serves as an agent of mobile communication service provider Safaricom to release float according to the company’s instructions.
Ms Mbogo, who has worked at DTB for eight years, explained that the bank has an agreement with various Safaricom agents, to whom it releases float.
She pointed out that it is Safaricom that verifies from its system the authenticity of its registered M-Pesa agents and then authorises the bank to release the float to the agents.
According to the prosecution, Mr Nur operates an M-Pesa business in which he allegedly 52 accounts in the last three months of 2018, 47 of them in October.
He allegedly received Sh9 million from South Africa, which amount was withdrawn through a specific till number and sent to Somalia. He allegedly withdrew the money in batches of Sh400,000.
Meanwhile, Mr Abitham is believed to have been in constant communication with the main attacker, Mr Ali Salim Gichunge, who was killed during the strike, and his wife, Ms Violet Kemunto Omwoyo, who is on the run.
The social media representative at Horizon TV is also accused of involvement in money laundering and transacting funds believed to be used for terrorism.
Mr Ali, is believed to have been in communication with several contacts in Somalia suspected to be Al Shabaab militants.
SH100M FOR TERRORISM
Mr Osmail received Sh100 million via M-Pesa, which police believe was for terrorism.
And Mr Hassan, who operates a business in Nairobi’s Eastleigh, is believed to have been in constant communication with Mr Faisal Mohammed Digale, who was involved in the Garissa attack, as well as Mr Gichunge.
Yesterday, an insurance agent with Directline, Ms Zipporah Wambui Karanja, who is accused of procuring insurance for two vehicles used by the Dusit attackers, was detained for 15 days.
So far, 16 suspects have been charged in and are being held in police custody over the attack that claimed 21 lives.