In the 1980s, bank heists entailed stealing hard cash from cashiers or customers at gunpoint, with robbers engaging the police to fire exchange.
Today, modes of bank heists have changed to technology and tenderpreneurship, with culprits withdrawing colossal amounts even as bank managers watch.
One of such cases is that of Alex Ribero Ngugi alias Aba Mpesha, who was able to siphon aound Ksh205 million from Central Bank of Kenya’s (CBK) Treasury Bonds (T-Bills).
According to court papers, Mpesha after losing his job as a cashier at Barclays Bank in 1997, started working as a Jua Kali dealer before ‘thinking big’ and venturing into the idea that ould make him a millionaire.
On On July 29, 2002, according to evidence presented in court, Mpesh went into Giro Bank and opened an account where he deposited Ksh5,000 for his company, Mpesha Enterprises.
He told the then Westlands branch manager, Jignesh Desai, that he had been referred to the bank by Khimji Patel, alias Ashok Patel.
However, Mpesha’s company details were scanty, as they lacked a permanent address, an introduction letter authored by Khimji, and there was no tax personal identification number as required by law.
The account, indicated to be held by John Mbuu, remained dormant for six months before a Ksh50,000 deposit was made on January 21, 2003.
This opened the floodgates of money, as on February 7, 2003, the account received Ksh95 million by order of Dyer Blair Investment Bank, through Stanbic Bank. T
It was indicated that the money was a proceed of sale of Treasury bonds.
Within seven days, the account was swept dry, with only Ksh755,174 being left. Mpesha withdrew Ksh16.5 million in cash immediately the transfer was made and wired Ksh41 million in five separate banker’s cheques to Fina Bank. He also transferred Ksh8 million to another account at Paramount Universal Bank.
Ksh1.8 million and a further Sh924,000 was paid to Blue Sea Forex Bureau and Travellers Forex Bureau.
Two weeks later, the account received Ksh90 million from Dyer and Blair. Similarly, Mpesha made sure the account was swept dry within no time.
He withdrew Ksh6.5 million in cash, transferred Ksh50 million via banker’s cheques to Fina Bank and sent Ksh1.5 million to Travellers Forex Bureau.
Another Ksh13.5 million was wired to Paramount Bank through a series of cheques. Another Ksh15 million was deposited in a Giro business account named Johmat Distributors Ltd that was owned by John Mwangi.
The money, according to investigations, was from fraudulently procured Treasury Bonds Issue Nos. FXT 2/2002/2 and FXD 1/2002/4 in the names of CBA Capital Ltd and Mumbu Holdings Ltd, respectively.
Mpesha is said to have fraudulently transferred T-bonds for CBA Capital valued at Ksh175 million to his account on January 28, 2003, from their Central Depository System (CDS) account to Mpesha’s account.
He did the same for T-bonds for Mumbu Holdings valued at Ksh30 million on April 3, 2003.
In 2003, Desai had opened a deposit account at Citi Bank, Dubai, which received $450,000 (Ksh45 million, thought to have been proceeds of the same (fraud).
Litigation has been going on for 15 years until December 18 last year when Justice Odunga ordered Desai and Ribero to pay back the Ksh205 million plus interest until fully settled.
The scam was revealed when Mumbu Holding tried to sell their T-bonds, only to discover that thy had been transfered.