Imperial Bank appeared to be on the verge of joining the elite league of tier one banks until October 13, 2015 when the industry regulator placed the lender under receivership.
The Central Bank of Kenya’s move followed a confession by the bank's directors that its former managing director Abdulmalek Janmohammed, who had died nearly a month earlier, was behind a fraud scheme that cost depositors Sh38 billion.
Further investigations have since revealed that depositors were robbed of Sh44.9 billion. The bank’s receiver manager — the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC) — has since said in court papers two senior managers helped Mr Janmohammed’s scheme by extending unsecured loans to a network of companies and keeping the transactions off the record.
Former head of credit Naeem Shah and ex-chief finance officer James Kaburu, investigations show, moved depositors funds to W.E. Tilley, Metro Petroleum, Jade Petroleum and Adra International through unsecured, undocumented loans which would be "repaid" using funds from fictitious banks accounts.
Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu has now been sucked into the saga, with Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji saying there is evidence that she obtained execution of a security belonging to Imperial Bank by false pretence and for personal gain.