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'Learned suspects' in KCB Thika heist deny charges, remain in custody
Thika thieves
PHOTO:Helford Munene, Charles Mwangi and Julius Ndung'u at Thika Law Courts where they were charged over theft of at least Sh50 million from KCB's Thika branch, November 27, 2017. /JOHN KAMAU


Nov,27-2017 13:39:41
Three "intelligent" people linked to a shocking movie-like bank theft, complete with an underground tunnel, were charged in Thika on Monday.

Helford Munene (32), Charles Mwangi (30) and Julius Ndung'u (32) appeared before chief magistrate Theresa Murigi over the theft of more than Sh50 million.

A senior police source termed the suspects learned people who have Master's degrees and second class honours of the upper division.

Two studied agricultural engineering and the other electrical engineering at JKUAT's Nairobi campus.

"These are intelligent people. In fact the one who got the lowest marks in their O level course had an A-," the officer said.

Plenty of money stolen

The prosecution said that between November 18 and 20, the suspects and accomplices entered KCB Thika through an underground tunnel and stole several bundles of cash.

These were Sh52,650,000, 95 Australian dollars, 185 Euros, 1,630 Pounds, Tsh 271,000, Ush947,000, $5,781, 40 South African Rand and five Canadian dollars.

More on this:Thieves dig tunnel under KCB Thika, steal Sh50 million

Also read:Three arrested over Sh50 million Thika KCB tunnel heist

The suspects were also charged with handling stolen property.

They were further charged with dishonestly handling Sh17,135,000, $1,311, 340 Pounds, 3,660 Euros, five Canadian dollars, 85 Australian dollars, Tsh26,000, 40 South African Rand and Ush20,000.

The three allegedly committed this offence in the course of stealing at Joy Land Estate in Juja on November 25.

The suspects denied all the charges and their lawyer Zacky Odegi pleaded with the court for lenient bail and bond terms.

"Bails and bonds are constitutional rights and my clients are no exception. They were arrested in their house in Thika on Saturday and have been in police custody for the whole weekend," he said.

But police said the suspects were apprehended on Saturday morning at Marurui Estate in Kiambu after which they led officers to a house in Joy Land where the money was found.

A police source said they had rented a house in the area but residents raised suspicions.

"Rigorous investigations led us to their whereabouts," the officer told The star.

Police also found tools used to drill the tunnel that led them to the bank's vault, over a period of six months, and several Kenyan IDs.

Suspects planning to abscond?

The lawyer further noted his clients were not flight risks and that they were ready for justice.

"The accused are first offenders and have no intentions of leaving the country until the matter is fully determined," he said.

State counsel Stella Oyagi objected saying the prosecution had compelling reasons to deny the suspects bond or bail.

Referring to a sworn affidavit by the investigations officer, Oyagi said the three had been planning to leave the country.

"They are a flight risk and will likely jeopardise the proceedings if granted bail," she said, adding that they would destroy evidence.

Justice Murigi will rule on the application on November 30.