The theft of Sh6 million reportedly by police officers at a lodge in Eastleigh, Nairobi, could have been a case of a deal gone bad if the CCTV footage and accounts provided by the management and witnesses are anything to go by.
Three police officers and a Cameroonian were arrested on Friday night following reports by Mr Mohammed Hassan Mohammed and Mr Abdullahi Hussein Yusuf that they had been robbed of $60,000 (Sh6,232,800) at gunpoint at room 143 of Barwaka Lodge on Eighth Street and Second Avenue.
Some Sh3.5 million was recovered while two suspects who are still at large are said to have made away with the remaining loot.
The six-hour footage recorded the details of the robbery from 3pm when Mr Mohammed is seen making calls outside the lodge where he had gone to book a room.
At 9pm, a scuffle ensues and a man is seen picking many notes from a corridor before disappearing.
According to the lodge managers, Mr Hassan – a suspected broker – booked the room and informed them that he would bring in three men.
He did not give details of his visitors or their mission. Minutes later, a man in a brown jacket and navy blue cap and another in half jacket – both believed to be police officers – walked into the building in the company of the Cameroonian who had a black suit and spectacles.
After being cleared at the reception, they headed to the lift. The security camera captures the three men entering the room at 3.18pm.
Around 8.24pm, a man with a red carrier is seen walking towards the main entrance of the lodge. Witnesses identify him as Mr Abdullahi Hasbaluoch, the owner of an adjacent building.
Apparently, he was carrying the money. He drops the cash in the room and leaves briefly.
Moments later, the policeman in the half jacket and the broker go downstairs and return with a well-built, light-skinned police officer in a black cap that he keeps adjusting to cover his face.
The three walk into the room at 8.55pm, just as Mr Abdullahi returns. There are six people in room 143.
Twelve minutes later, a melee ensues that alerts guests in the next room, though they do not intervene.
“Walikuwa wanasema pesa haitoshi (they were saying the money is not enough),” one of them, who did not want to be identified, said.
Suddenly, the door opens and the police officer in the brown jacket dashes out, leaving the jacket with someone who attempts to stop him. The one in a half jacket rushes downstairs after him.
Then the well-built one, who has a pistol, appears to be struggling to restrain the money owner and pushes him back into the room while collecting notes strewn all over the doorway.
Moments later, he walks downstairs with the deal-maker in pursuit.
Outside the lodge that is opposite Shaikh Hamuood Mosque, other men suspected to be part of the deal have packed a car whose registration number is not legible.
They pace around for minutes. At one point, they try to force the broker into the car. He pulls back and they snatch his mobile phone as he rushes to safety.
The police officers arrested on Friday are a corporal and two constables. Detectives say a constable and a gang informer are still on the run.
According to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the police officers had three pistols during the incident.
Police have appealed to the public to volunteer information that could lead to the arrest of the those on the run.
According to police, the two businessmen had checked into a lodging on Second Avenue when six gunmen broke into their room and ordered them to surrender their money.
They surrendered the $60,000 and the six robbers left immediately. The two then raised alarm, attracting the attention of Pangani station officers on patrol.
They arrested the four, only to realise that three were colleagues attached to Kayole Police Station in Nairobi.
The officers disarmed their colleagues. They had 45 rounds of ammunition, according to the police.
Those arrested are being held at Pangani Police Station ahead of their court appearance Monday.
Interestingly, detectives have not visited the crime scene. The lodge is usually used by middle-class patrons.
The self-contained room is on the fourth floor of the building. It has two seater couches, a study table and a wardrobe.