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Court acquits 12 suspects charged with 2010 Co-op Bank heist

Almost all the suspects who were charged with theft of Sh80 million from Co-operative Bank eight years ago have been acquitted.

The heist was the sixth in a series of thefts that targeted local banks, leading to loss of almost Sh500 million.

Fourteen suspects were charged with the theft, but only one was convicted.

Five former employees of Co-operative Bank among them a manager, were acquitted over the theft of the cash from the bank’s head office in Nairobi.

Ms Mary Wangui Kimari, who was an operations manager, and fellow employees Ms Claire Wairimu Kabau, Ms Eunice Wanaswa, Ms Priscilla Kahuya Jumba and Ms Celanel Atieno Midega were among twelve people set free by Kibera court last week.

But the court convicted and sentenced a former police officer, Collins Akoth Atula, who was found with Sh1.25 million believed to be part of the stolen cash, to four years in prison.

However, Atula was said to have died, although the court noted that no documentary evidence was produced during trial to prove his death.

Another suspect, Samuel Mulla Omullo, was also said to have died before the case was concluded.

While acquitting Ms Kimari and her co-workers, the court said it found no to evidence to convict them of conspiracy to steal the cash.

“There is no evidence to demonstrate that the accused persons were in communication or interaction to plan to commit the offence, a charge of conspiracy could not be proven and they are accordingly acquitted of all charges,” ruled the magistrate, Elizabeth Juma.

Others who had been charged with the October 1, 2010 heist are: Mr Elvis Kipkorir Too,  Mr Joash Opiyo Jagero, Mr James Bango, Mr Kennedy Omondi, Mr Philip Omullo, Mr Derrick Otieno Ogembo and Mr Steve Ochieng Odhiambo.

They had denied charges of stealing Sh80 million from the bank’s headquarters on Haile Selassie Avenue in Nairobi.

Mr Akoth was facing a separate charge of dishonestly retaining Sh1.25 million believed to be part of the money stolen from the bank.

The G4S security company had suffered repeated high profile robberies, losing hundreds of millions.

The court found gaps in the prosecution’s evidence, saying other people who could have been involved in the theft were not charged.

“Every employee who was aware of the requisition is a possible suspect for giving out the information,’’ the court noted.

Daily Nation

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