Three suspects in Thika KCB Bank heist faces more charges

Friday December 15 2017

Thika KCB Bank heist

Shem Karani Karimi, Halford Munene Murakaru, his brother Charles Mwangi Murakaru and Julius Ndung'u Wainaina at the Thika magistrate's court on December 14, 2017 where they faced additional charges of being in possession of stolen property on top of charges of stealing over Sh50 million from KCB Bank. PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MARY WAMBUI
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Three of the four suspects charged with stealing over Sh50 million from KCB Thika branch between November 18 and 20 now face additional charges of handling and being in possession of suspected stolen property.

Mr Halford Munene Murakaru and his brother Charles Mwangi Murakaru were Thursday accused of having in their possession 200 national identity cards, 200 Orange sim cards, 1,239 MTN sim cards, five Cyprus Telecommunication Authority cards (CYTA) and seven central processing units, all suspected to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained, on November 25, 2017, at Joyland Estate in Juja township within Kiambu county.

ID CARDS

Mr Shem Karini Kirimi was accused of being in possession of three national identity cards, numbers 34752368, 27433800 and 27412204, all suspected to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained, on the first day of December 2017 at Peloma Building in Mtwapa township, Mombasa County.

They denied the charges.

The two brothers, Munene and Mwangi, had earlier been charged alongside the third suspect, Mr Julius Ndung’u Wainaina, with two counts of breaking into the bank, stealing and handling stolen property — Sh52,650,000, 95 Australian dollars, 185 Euros, 1,630 Great Britain pounds, 271 thousand Tanzanian shillings, 947 thousand Ugandan shillings, 5,781 US dollars, 40 South African Rand and five Canadian dollars, property of KCB Thika branch.

FOURTH SUSPECT

Later, the police arrested the fourth suspect, Karimi, 26, in Mtwapa and charged him with similar charges. The three denied the charges before Chief Magistrate Teresa Murigi and were released on a Sh4 million bond with two sureties of a similar amount each.

The court Thursday granted the prosecution’s application to have the two cases consolidated, against the wish of the fourth accused, Mr Karani, who said he was not involved in the break-in and theft.

Ms Murigi, however, granted the application on the basis that the four were facing similar charges of breaking into and stealing from the bank.

REVIEW BOND

Ms Waithera Mwangi, the defence counsel representing the two brothers and their co-accused Mr Ndung’u, sought to have the court review their bond terms, saying they had been unable to raise the bond since they come from humble backgrounds.

“The first two are brothers and they come from humble backgrounds. Raising four sureties of Sh4 million each has been hard for them.

“Their parents are ready to furnish the court with sureties, only that the amount is too high,” Ms Mwangi told the court.

The defence counsel added that the brothers were both married with young children while the third accused was engaged.

“They are willing to abide by all other conditions set in the reviewed bond terms. They have no intention of fleeing court jurisdictions; they are also not a flight risk,” she added.

She also asked to be supplied with the charge sheet, witness statements and a list of all the exhibits intended for use in the case.