Meru Senator Mithika Linturi was a person of interest in the robbery case of Co-operative Bank, Makutano branch following the lose of Ksh13.5 million.
It was later discovered that the missing loot had been deposited to an account owned by the now Meru Senator.
The robbery, which took place seven years ago, between the night of November 2, 2012, and early the following day, still lingers in the lives of those who claim that they were falsely accused.
Following the investigations carried out by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), three individuals were charged: Ms Harriet Kanorio, Mr Wilson Wanjohi, and Mr Ensume Muriungi Mithika.
Soon after taking the plea, Senator Linturi is noted to have used a piece of land in Kithoka, Meru County, valued at Ksh3.3 million as the bond to secure freedom for Mr Muriungi Mithika.
Mr Linturi, who was the then Igembe South MP, also stood in as surety for Mr Mithika.
After six years in and out of court, only Ms Kanorio and Mr Wanjohi were convicted. They were then ordered to each pay a Ksh1 million fine or spend 15 months in jail.
Whereas Mr Wanjohi raised the fine, Ms Kanorio could not hence was sent to prison.
In his ruling delivered in December 3, 2018, Chief Magistrate H. N. Ndung’u acquitted Mr Mithika but found Ms Kanorio and Mr Wanjohi guilty of the robbery.
During the trial, Mr Linturi recorded a stement with the CI noting that the Ksh8.6 milion deposited in his account was preceeds of selling a piece of land in Machakos.
When detectives confronted Senator Linturi with information that Mr Mithika had banked Ksh8.6 million stolen from the bank, the legislator denied the claim.
He noted: “I vehemently deny the allegation as there is no one that had deposited any money in my account apart from myself, neither had he (Mr Mithika) given me any cash to deposit or keep for him.”
Whereas he did not indicate who the land was sold to, Mr Linturi mentioned that he received the money from Gikunda & Company Advocates who acted for the buyer.
He further claimed to have received Ksh18 million as a down payment and that he was still expecting a Ksh42 million balance.
He admitted that he knew Mr Mithika but denied any blood relations. Instead, the senator exclaimed that Mr Mithika had campaigned for him during the 2007 Igembe South parliamentary polls.
His relation with Mr Linturi remains a puzzle to date, following the acquital of Mr Mithika.
On the other end, despite Ms Kanorio’s 20 years of service at Co-operative Bank, the turn of events drenched all her finances and greatly altered the future of her family.
Speaking to Nation, Ms Kanorio noted that after losing her job at Co-op Bank and being charged, her mother went into depression and succumbed shortly afterwards.
Luckily for Ms Kanorio and Mr Wanjohi, the duo were releasd on July 22,2019 after spending seven months in prison as they appealed the sentence handed to them by Chief Magistrate H. N. Ndung’u.
At the time, the stolen money was in denominations of Ksh13 million, 1,120 Canadian Dollars, £660, and US$60.
The loot was taken from an ATM in the branch’s computer room, whose door only the systems administrator had keys to , and the strong room.
The systems administrator, who testified in the trial, did not indicate whether he may have issued someone else with a copy of the key.
Mr Mithika is claimed to have had keys to the branch’s strong room during a stint as acting operations manager.
Conveniently, during the robbery, cameras monitoring the bank were not working on the night of the robbery and the morning after. Only the systems administrator had access to controls of the CCTV cameras.
Alarms also failed to go off on the night of the robbery.
The main door to the computer room, where the money was stolen from, had a time lock. Somehow, the main door was also not working on that day.
Whenever the computer room’s main door malfunctioned, the emergency door was used.
In this case, the emergency door did not have a time lock, which enabled the thief to take the money.
The truth behind the heist remains fuzzy even as Ms Kanorio tries to piece her life together again, having served her time.