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Sh47m Equity cash robbery probe extends to Ethiopia

Equity Bank
An Equity Bank branch in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Search for Sh47 million stolen from Equity Bank #ticker:EQTY during last week’s plane heist at Odda Airstrip in Moyale, Marsabit, is expected to extend to Ethiopia.

This comes as police revealed that Sh60 million had been targeted in the daring robbery last week but a three-man gang managed to make away with two money bags containing Sh47 million.

However, with the porosity of the Kenya-Ethiopia border, the hope of recovering the money is dwindling even as detectives extend the search to Moyale town that is geographically larger on the Ethiopian side.

There are also concerns that the robbers could have already exchanged the money into Ethiopian currency as the exchange is usually largely unregulated and is done openly in the streets.

Police on Tuesday said Sh60 million was being flown to Moyale at the time of the robbery. Eastern Regional Police Commander Eunice Kihiko told the Business Daily that inquiry into the robbery has since been handed over to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in Nairobi.

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“The suspects took two money bags and left one. From our findings, we have established that Sh47 million was stolen. The case is now being investigated at DCI headquarters,” she said.

The money was being transported by air from Nairobi to Moyale last Wednesday. Police said three robbers were involved in the heist.

The plane landed at the Odda airstrip around 1pm barely 15 kilometres from the Ethiopian border where the three men were reportedly waiting. The plane had only three occupants, a pilot, his assistant and a cash officer from Wells Fargo Courier Limited.

Equity Bank officials were about to receive the money from the aircraft when the three men struck. One of them is said to have brandished a pistol at the officials. The other two forced their way into the plane and took the two money bags. They escaped on a motorcycle.

Police are still holding the bank officials, including the operations manager, over the theft as detectives now focus on the possibility that the theft was an inside job. Detectives have also grilled the two pilots and the Wells Fargo officer.

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