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Kenyan bank boss pleads innocence over Dusit attack



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A Kenyan bank manager accused of aiding the flow of money linked to the Nairobi Dusit terror attack through M-Pesa has shifted the blame to Safaricom.

Ms Sophia Njoki Mbogo, the branch manager at Diamond Trust Bank Eastleigh branch, Thursday said through court papers that she was acting on the instructions of Safaricom in releasing funds to a man the prosecution says was a terrorism financier.

Ms Mbogo’s court application was in response to the request by the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit to have her and six other suspects detained for 30 days for deeper investigations.

The police are accusing her as branch manager of allowing huge sums of monies to be cashed within a very short period of time without demanding evidence.

Ms Mbogo says Safaricom is the firm that verifies the identity of registered M-Pesa agents and authorises the bank to release trading cash to the agent when in need of float or money for transactions.

“The bank being an agent of Safaricom releases the float according to the instructions issued by Safaricom being the principal,” notes Ms Mbogo.

“Any records that are likely to be sought by the prosecution are in the custody of the bank and not my branch and Safaricom Limited where they are safely stored. I am not in a position to interfere with the investigations or evidence sought.”

The mother of two was arraigned on Wednesday alongside Hassan Nur, Ismael Abitham, Ali Khamisii, Abdinoor Osmail, Abdullahi Hassan and Isaak Mohammed before Senior Principal Magistrate Martha Mutuku.

They are suspected to have aided in the financing of the terror attack where Somali terror group al Shabaab stormed the 14 Riverside business complex on January 15, killing 21 people.

Ms Mbogo’s troubles are linked to Mr Nur’s M-Pesa business in Eastleigh, a suburb east of Nairobi city centre.

Police say Mr Nur received Ksh9 million ($90,000) from South Africa, which would be withdrawn through a specific till at Diamond Trust Bank before being sent to Somalia.

He allegedly used to withdraw Ksh400,000 ($4,000) severally in a day through a till number, sparking suspicions.

Mr Osmail, the fourth suspect, is a graduate of the Kenya School of Law and is currently undergoing pupillage, but police accuse him of receiving up to Ksh100 million ($1 million) via M-Pesa, money claimed to be for terrorism purposes.

On Thursday, an insurance agent with Directline, Zipporah Wambui Karanja, who is accused of procuring insurance for two vehicles used by the Dusit attackers, was detained for 15 days.

So far, there are 16 suspects who have been arraigned and are being held in police custody.

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