Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti on Tuesday reported that Sh2 billion in fake US dollars was found stashed in Barclays Bank client's safe deposit box.
This was after Flying Squad officers, led by their boss Musa Yego, pitched tent at the bank's Queensway branch, Nairobi, to investigate a fake currency syndicate that took the city by storm.
Accompanied by detectives from the DCI, the officers spent hours at the bank, with reports indicating that a customer had brought in a haul of fake cash.
Detectives tried to find out how a customer managed to store the currency undetected for an unspecified period.
Banks offer clients safe deposit boxes to store vital documents such as title deeds, logbooks, marriage certificates, insurance policies, jewellery, foreign currency, educational certificates among others.
However, customers are required to make full disclosure of the valuables and banks retain spare keys for the boxes and are allowed to conduct inspection from time to time.
The hitherto unnamed client is said to have been keeping fake dollars in one of the bank's safes.
He is said to have been bringing potential investors to the bank to see his 'largesse' and police suspect he was on a mission to defraud the businesspeople.
The client was cornered by the officers on Tuesday morning after he came to check on his 'wealth'.
Operations at the bank were temporarily disrupted as the contingent, which arrived in several vehicles, alighted, stormed the banking hall and started searching for the fake bills.
The detectives appeared to have been on the trail of the suspects — one foreigner and two Kenyans — for a while.
The three were arrested at about mid-day at the bank. It is said that one of the Kenyans, who owns the safe deposit box, had been spotted a number of times displaying its content to strangers.\
Flying Squad detectives whisked away the masked suspects heightening speculation about who the money belonged to.
Unconfirmed reports indicated that five people have been arrested — three men and two women — in connection with the fake Sh2 billion and that the safe box had been in operation since 2017.
Barclays, in a statement released Tuesday night, said the arrested customer had concealed the fake currency which is against the lender’s rules.
“The customer had concealed fake currency in his personal safe deposit box against bank rules and regulations which include restrictions of items that can be held in the safe deposit box,” said the bank.
“The contents of personal safe deposit boxes are not part of bank deposits and are only known to the client."
The bank, however, declined to reveal the identity of the customer in question.
The investigations came barely a month after officers from the Special Crimes Prevention Unit seized a huge cache of fake currencies, foreign and local, that were hidden in a residential house in Ruiru.
At that time, police told the press the fake currency amounted to Sh32 billion and did not reveal how they reached such a figure.
Ruiru Police Commander James Ng'etich said the money had been stacked in at least 20 metal boxes.
Among the currencies in the boxes were euros, pounds, dollars and Kenyan currency.
Three suspects — a couple and their female business associate — were arrested and charged in court.