The largest chunk of the Sh34.7 million that was withdrawn from Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) was sent to Syria and Jilib in Somalia, the headquarters of terrorists group Al-Shabaab, investigators have disclosed.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji told Parliament the money was directed to Somalia and Syria after it was withdrawn from DTB’s Eastleigh branch.
“This money was going to Jilib, the headquarters of Al-Shabaab. We are not penalising this bank but protecting it by charging the manager. There are certain issues that cannot be said here,” he told the National Assembly’s committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.
The DPP has since charged Sophia Njoki Mbogo, who was DTB’s Eastleigh branch manager with aiding and abetting Dusit D2 hotel complex terror attack. This came after the bank issued a statement promising to co-operate with investigators in the case involving its employee.
Ms Njoki is charged with failure to report suspicious activity regarding proceeds of crime and anti-money laundering, aiding and abetting commission of a terrorism act as well as failure to report a suspicious cash transaction amounting to Sh34,36, 550 million.
Mr Noordin disclosed that the money went to Somalia and Syria when he appeared before the committee chaired by William Cheptumo to defend the budget for the year 2019/20.
Mr Cheptumo sought to know why DTB’s Eastleigh branch manager had been charged in court over the January 15 Dusit terror attack that saw 21 people killed by terrorists.
“How would a bank manager know if a person withdrawing money is a terrorist? Why have you charged the manager?” Mr Cheptumo asked.
Mr Haji said he charged the branch manager with aiding and abetting terrorism by failing to report suspicious transactions. “We have evidence showing that some of this money was going to Syria and Somalia. What would you be investing in Somalia using clean cash?” Senior Public Prosecutor Dorcas Oduor posed.
“Looking at what happened in Dusit D2, a customer who was withdrawing Sh400,000 per month suddenly takes Sh5 million in cash and loaded in a sack. As a manager, you ought to have raised concern and reported to the Financial Reporting Centre,” Ms Oduor said.
Mr Haji said he has an international obligation to ensure the bank takes responsibility. “We are protecting DTB. If we don’t charge them, they will face international barrage. We are better off charging them here. If they come with clean hands, we will help them through plea bargaining ,” Mr Haji said.