Barclays Bank now freezes safe deposit box applications


Barclays Bank now freezes safe deposit box applications
File image of Barclays Bank, Queensway Branch in Nairobi. PHOTO| COURTESY

Barclays Bank of Kenya has frozen applications for safe deposit boxes following the discovery of fake money and gold inside its Queensway branch in Nairobi on Tuesday, March 19.

In a statement issued on Thursday, CEO Jeremy Awori said the bank was also reviewing the existing safe boxes as “an extra precaution.”

“As an extra precaution, we have taken a decision not to take any new safe deposit boxes and are working with our clients to review the existing safe deposit boxes,” said the Barclays Bank CEO.

He further clarified that the fake 20 million U.S. dollars (Ksh.2.6 billion) intercepted at the Queensway branch had not infiltrated into the bank.

“We would like to reassure you that we have robust processes to ensure that all currency dispensed over our counters and ATMs is genuine and that items held in safe deposit boxes are separate from the bank deposits,” he said.

“We continue to cooperate and assist the investigating authorities including proactively reporting and handing over a second safe deposit box owned by the customer under investigation.”

Meanwhile, the two Barclays employees who had been arrested in connection with the fake currency have been released and will be prosecution witnesses in the case.

On Wednesday, detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations impounded fake gold in the same safe deposit box at Barclays Bank’s Queensway branch where Ksh.2.6 billion in fake currency was recovered.

Meanwhile, the four suspects arrested in connection with the fake money and gold were Thursday detained for five days to allow police conclude investigations.

They include: Eric Adede, who was the registered owner of the safe deposit box, Ahmed Shah, who is alleged to have posed as a foreign investor, Elizabeth Muthoni and Irene Wairimu.

In an earlier statement issued on Tuesday, Barclays Bank said the fake money had been hidden in the safe deposit box “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.

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