- Also seized, were the suspect’s younger sister and her husband from whom another stuffed bag with approximately Sh15 million was found
Police have arrested more suspects in the Barclays Bank robbery investigation, including a 30-year-old woman who was flushed out of a bus with a reported Sh26 million stuffed in her bag.
The woman (name withheld), a resident of Tabata in Dar es Salaam, was in the police list of most wanted suspects in connection with the theft of millions of shillings at the bank’s Kinondoni Branch by conniving staff and some crooked police officers.
According to impeccable sources close to the investigation, it is now emerging that up to Sh500 million, and not the Sh300 million reported first on April 15, may have been stolen in a hoax that was stage-managed to appear like a robbery.
The suspect was dramatically arrested on Thursday at Kabuku in Tanga Region inside an Arusha-bound Dar Express Bus. On her, the police sources confided to The Citizen, some Sh26 million in crisp banknotes in a small travelling bag was found.
Also seized, were the suspect’s younger sister and her husband from whom another stuffed bag with approximately Sh15 million was found. The couple was picked from their Kibaha town residence and are said to have led the police to arrest their travelling relative.
Another suspect whose identity has not been divulged was arrested at the Julius Nyerere International Airport as he waited to board a plane to an undisclosed destination.
The weekend round-up brings to nearly a dozen those being held at the Oyster Bay police. Efforts by The Citizen to reach out to the Kinondoni RPC, Mr Camillius Wambura, and the Dar es Salaam Special Police Zone Commander, Mr Suleiman Kova, for comment were futile as their phones went unanswered.
But The Citizen can today reveal the dramatic details of the arrest of the key woman suspect as recounted by Ms Dementria Naluyaga who witnessed the drama on Thursday.
Interestingly, Ms Naluyaga was also arrested alongside the suspect at Kabuku and spent the night together with the other suspects under tight police guard at Oyster Bay.
She was, however, released on Friday evening after it was proven hers was a case of mistaken identity.
In an interview with The Citizen at a Kigamboni hotel on Saturday, Ms Naluyaga said she was travelling to Arusha to attend her sister’s pre-wedding ceremony when the events leading to her arrest begun to unfold.
“I was in the same Dar Express bus with the suspect and in fact we were sharing a seat right behind the driver at the time of the arrest,” she recalled.
She said she sat alone in the bus up to Kongowe in Kibaha where the suspect was dropped off by a motorcycle and entered the bus.
“She came and sat with me and we rode together as she played banter for the reminder of the journey. We somewhat bonded and she even borrowed my phone to make several calls.
“A few minutes after 1pm we arrived at Kabuku and immediately noted that something was afoot.All the Dar Express buses from the city were being held and passengers detained inside.”
Ms Naluyaga said she overheard the crew say that the police had orders from Dar to stop all the buses from continuing with the journey.
According to her, her woman companion was calm during the journey.
“She, however, showed signs of panic and made a lot of calls when we were told about the police hunt for suspects. She made calls from a scribbled list numbers and spoke in her mother tongue.”
Soon, the team from Dar arrived in a marked car at about 2pm. They did not take long to land their prized suspect. Apparently, the bodaboda cyclist had been arrested and led them to the bus that his sister in-law had boarded.
“The police who were described as members of a task force came in and asked the lady to identify herself. She gave her name and they told her they were looking for her. She alighted with her bags and was taken in. But a few minutes later before we could proceed, another order came that I should also alight. I was now being accused of being an accomplice on account of my phone that was used to make calls to numbers that the police said belonged to the criminals they were looking for.”
Ms Naluyaga said they were held at the Kabuku station where they were interrogated and recorded statements.
“At about 7.30pm we begun the journey back to the city, arriving past midnight and were led to a small room at Oyster Bay.
“The police accused me of being a Kenyan and a dangerous criminal and terrorist who they have been looking for. They seized our phones and declined any request to contact my family. But I knew I was innocent and it would only be a matter of time and I would be free.”
As for the arrested woman, Ms Naluyaga said she was shocked to learn of the story behind her.
“She had told me she was heading to Segera to fetch her child from her estranged husband.”