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Gikomba M-Pesa agents charged with aiding theft of Police sacco millions

Two mobile money operators and a systems administrator have been charged with conspiring to steal Sh29.5 million from the Kenya National Police Sacco.

Ms Jane Njoki Gaitho, Alexander Odhiambo Otieno, and Brian Samba Oluoch (ICT expert) were arraigned before Milimani law courts chief magistrate Lucas Onyina.

They denied three counts of fraud and money laundering in what investigators insist is an elaborate cybercrime syndicate.

Gaitho and Otieno, the Gikomba market-based M-Pesa operators were accused of allowing the cash outlet to be used to withdraw over Sh7,035,200 stolen from the Kenya National Police DT Sacco Society.

The millions were allegedly stolen from the Utumishi kwa Wote Sacco between August 2021 and April 15, 2022.

The M-Pesa operators were further charged with money laundering by allegedly allowing those withdrawing the funds to access the said Sh7,035,200 when they knew the money had been stolen from the Police Sacco.

The three were accused of conspiring to steal Sh29,530,566 on diverse dates between February 7 and April 15, 2022.

Mr Onyina was informed by State prosecutor James Gachoka the alleged offence took place at an unknown place within the Republic of Kenya.

Brian Samba Oluoch faced different charges where he was accused of masterminding the crime.

Njoki and Odhiambo were accused of aiding the commission of offences by allegedly permitting their Brooknet M-Pesa agency within Gikomba Market in Nairobi County to be used for withdrawing the colossal sums.

The prosecution told the court that during the time of the offence, Brian was an employee of the said Sacco as an ICT systems administrator.

Brian was separately charged with stealing by servant where he stole Sh29,530,566 property of KNPSSL which came into his possession by employment.

In an additional count, Brian was charged with fraud through the usage of a computer.

The court heard that on the stated dates at Ngara area within Nairobi, Brian Samba, being an ICT administrator of the Sacco, obtained an economic benefit of Sh29,530,566 unlawfully.

Brian allegedly created an unauthorized username ‘police’ that accessed the Sacco database and modified data by linking fraudulent mobile numbers to the FOSA accounts.

On the other hand, his co-accused Odhiambo faced two counts of aiding in the commission of the offence and money laundering.

Odhiambo was accused that on diverse dates between February and May 2022 at Gikomba area within Nairobi county, being the owners and operators of an M-Pesa agency store, aided the offence to take place by facilitating unverified withdrawals amounting to Sh15,799,150 money stolen from the Kenya National Police DT Sacco Society limited.

A defence lawyer pleaded with the magistrate to release the accused on favorable bond terms without being blinded by the figures on the charge sheet.

“Your honor, I plead this court to release the accused persons on favorable bond terms and I can assure this court that they will abide by the rules and order which will be set by this court,” he said.

The lawyer further told the court that the accused have families to take care of and they are sole breadwinners to their young families.

The court heard Brian and the Police Sacco are embroiled in a labour case where the former has sued for terminal dues.

“This criminal case against Brian is a move to scare him to abandon the high court where he has sued the Sacco seeking compensation for summary dismissal,” the magistrate heard.

The magistrate released them on bond of Sh2 million with a surety similar amount with an alternative cash bail of Sh1 million with two contact persons each.

The matter will be mentioned on November 14, 2023, for pre-trial directions.

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