All that was required of Barclays Bank’s security guard was to hand in banking hall keys, keep it a secret and on the day robbers were to carry out what would have been Kenya’s biggest money heist, put on a shocked face just like other employees.
If all had gone well, his compliance was to be rewarded with part of the looted money.
The idea started like when two teens share a puff of cigarette.
They had planned to walk out of Barclays Bank of Kenya, now Absa, with a staggering Sh120 million without firing a single shot.
It was a fast encounter on the first day: the guard got curious about an idea proposed by a stranger who posed as a customer, got excited and finally gave in.
As the deal offered was too sweet to resist and risky, it needed more insiders. The unnamed guard, therefore, roped in a second guard who was on the night shift.
He was to learn later that a cleaner, teller, retail support staff and a former employee – who confessed in the robbery planning meeting that he was involved in another heist where Sh34 million vanished at Barclays Bank’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) branch — were also in the heinous plot.
The revelation on how the robbery was planned and was to be executed, including a mock exercise, is contained in a court battle between Barclays Bank and its former teller, Michael Njoroge.
Mr Njoroge was fired following a foiled exercise that targeted Absa’s Nakuru East branch. The robbers expected the money they were after to be repatriated from Nakuru West, Nyahururu and Kericho.
The teller sued, claiming unfair dismissal after he was acquitted of the robbery charge by the magistrate’s court.On October 11, 2012, a guard attached to the bank was approached by a customer and asked whether he was willing to assist in an exercise they were to embark on.
The two exchanged mobile numbers and arranged a further meeting the following day.
Cash-in-transit lobbyThe second meeting happened at Midland Hotel, Nakuru, and this time the purported customer was accompanied by another man and two women.
They gave him the details of their mission, and the role he was to play was to help the four access the bank through the cash-in-transit lobby.A further meeting was arranged on October 13, where the gang asked the guard to recruit his colleague who was to man the bank during the night.
He roped in the other guard, and they were given new cell phones for ease of communication.
Six days later, Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Maureen Onyango heard, the gang held a fourth meeting to introduce the guards to other syndicate members.
Court documents say the others introduced were a cleaner, Mohammed Jaffer, retail support staffer James Gitau and Njoroge.
Kenyan Business Feed is the top Kenyan Business Blog. We share news from Kenya and across the region. To contact us with any alert, please email us to [email protected]