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Sh2 billion seized at Barclays Bank in suspected fake currency syndicate

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A suspected fake currency syndicate could be at the heart of a raid on a Barclays Bank branch in Nairobi after police seized millions of dollars following an alleged tip off.

Playing out like a scene from an action movie, the raid on the Barclays Bank Quennsway Branch occured on Tuesday, with the Flying Squad, accompanied by officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI), reportedly arriving in vehicles to search the banking hall.

Operations at the Barclays Bank that is situated on Kaunda Street within Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD) came to a halt as the security authorities reportedly searched for the fake bills.

Behind it is an individual who had kept Ksh 2 billion in fake US currency in a safe box, according to DCI director George Kinoti. It is said the foreigner has been bringing “clients” to the branch to see the money and detectives believe he wanted to defraud them or they were part of the syndicate.

They were grilled at the branch as the DCI sought to establish how the money founds its way into the lender’s coffers. It was deposited in November 2017.

“A customer who holds a personal safe deposit box at our Queensway branch was this morning intercepted by police at the branch. Police are currently investigating the contents of his safe deposit box. We are assisting the authorities to investigate this matter fully,” Barclays Bank tweeted.

Banks provide safe boxes for customers to keep various valuables, including jewelry, title deeds and foreign currency notes.

The latest incident comes barely a month after a raid by the Special Crimes Prevention Unit seized Ksh 32.6 billion in fake currencies, foreign and local, that were hidden in a residential house in Ruiru.

Some reports had put the figure at Ksh 17 billion but economist David Ndii flagged such deposits, saying, if true, they raise more questions than answers.

“Something is not adding up with these huge fake currency hauls. If there was that much fake currency around, we would be encountering it more frequently in circulation. Could this be a cover for confiscating a certain politician’s cash hoard? Just wondering,” he tweeted.

“Assuming its all 1k notes, this 17b equals 8% of all 1k notes in circulation (Sh.210b as per CBK data). Another haul in Ruiru haul was Sh. 32b in multiple currencies incl Ksh. If only Sh. 3b in Ksh, we talking over 10%, one out of every ten 1k notes? What I’m I missing? Now, lets talk counting. Google research tells me machines count on average 1000 notes a minute. Works out to 283 machine hours without reloading, lets say 300 hours with reloading. 12 machines, for 24 hours non-stop. Is DCI daft, or they are telling us something,” added Ndii.


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BT Reporter
BT Reporterhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke
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