Barclays Bank explains how fake Ksh. 2B ended up in their safe deposit box

Barclays Bank explains how fake Ksh. 2B ended up in their safe deposit box
File image of Barclays Bank, Queensway Branch in Nairobi. PHOTO| COURTESY

The recovery of Ksh.2 billion in fake U.S. dollars at a Barclays Bank branch in Nairobi has raised a myriad questions with the prime query being how fake money — in such bulk — ended up inside a major bank at the heart of the city.

The fake 20 million US dollars were found inside a customer’s safe deposit box by flying squad detectives acting on a tip-off.  A safe deposit box is a locker usually located in a vault or very secure area inside a bank and is rented out to customers at a fee, which varies from one financial institution to the other.

In a statement issued after the shocking discovery, the bank implied that it was not aware that in one of the lockers rented by the customer lay fake currency. Barclay’s bank says the money had been hidden “against the bank’s rules and regulations.”

“Barclays bank can confirm that police have taken in the customer for further questioning. The customer had concealed fake currency in his personal safe deposit box against the banks rules and regulations which include restrictions of items which can be held in the safe deposit box,” said the bank in a statement.

Barclays explained that they are never aware of what customers store in their personal safe boxes, indicating that holders of safe deposit boxes are at liberty to deposit whatever valuable they wish.

“The contents of personal safe boxes are not part of the bank’s deposits and are only known to the client,” said Barclays Bank.

The bank, however, maintained it is fully cooperating and assisting the authorities with the investigation.

The owner of the safe is among three suspects — one foreigner and two Kenyans — who have since been arrested as police pursue more leads to crack a suspected fake currency syndicate in the city.

Typically, customers rent safe deposit boxes at banks to store  jewellery, important documents such as title deeds among other valuable items.

In an interview with a local daily, a general manager of one of the local banks explained that a safe deposit box has two keys — one is issued to the client and the other remains with the bank. However, to access the valuables in the safe, both the customer and a bank officer have to be present to open the box using both keys.

A client is not restricted on the number of times he or she can visit the safe deposit box.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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