Business & Tech

Naivas Tycoon’s Widow Dies Three Weeks After Husband

Widow to the deceased Naivas Supermarket Tycoon, Simon Mukuha, has passed on barely three weeks after he succumbed to a stroke.

The widow, Monica Wanjiru Gashwe, 58, died on Tuesday, September 17, while receiving treatment at the Aga Khan Hospital.

According to a funeral announcement from the family in one of the dailies, Wanjiru died on Monday, September, 16, ‘after a long illness bravely borne.’

It was earlier reported that the widow had been admitted to the medical facility with a serious condition but it was not immediately clear what the condition was.

An obituary from Monica Wanjiru's family announcing her death.
An obituary from Monica Wanjiru’s family announcing her death. Monica succumbed on Monda ‘after a long illness bravely borne.’

Her body was taken to Lee funeral Home and is set to be laid to rest at Lang’ata Cemetery on Thursday, September 19.

At the time of Mukuha’s death at the same hospital, his wife was also admitted in the ICU unit.

Towards the end of August, Kenyans.co.ke reported that Mukuha, who held 25 per cent ownership of the retail outlet, died after suffering a heart attack.

Naivas supermarket Chief Operations Officer Willy Kimani reported, at the time, that “Mukuha has passed on this (Monday, 26 August 2019) evening at Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi where he was undergoing treatment after suffering a heart attack.”

The couple got married in 1982 and was blessed with four children together and eight grandchildren. 

Naivas Supermarkets Chairman Simon Gashwe Mukuha at a past event
Naivas Supermarkets Chairman Simon Gashwe Mukuha at a past event. He succumbed to stroke three weeks before his wife died at Aga Khan Hospital.

Police arrest another suspect in Sh72m money heist, recover Sh2.3m from his grandmother’s house

Police have recovered Sh2.3 million more of the Sh72 million that was stolen in a heist in Nairobi West.A suspect who had been arrested in Machakos took police to his grandmother’s house in the area where they recovered the cash in new currencies on Monday.

According to police, the suspect is a brother to another suspect who had been arrested on September 12 in connection with the heist.

After interrogation, he took police to Machakos where his grandmother aged 60 had kept the money. The money was taken away by police.Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said they are looking for more suspects and hope to recover more cash from them.

He added the latest suspect was arrested in Muumandu in Machakos following a tip off.

“No criminal will rest or have peace after committing a crime,” said Kinoti.Six suspects in the heist were last week charged with robbing the bank of the money.

The six, including three police officers, jointly with others at large allegedly robbed G4S staff of Sh74 million and 38 cassettes, 13 purge bins and 13 canvas bags all totaling to Sh75.9 million.

Prosecutors said they were in possession of dangerous weapons like fire arms and threatened to use violence on the staff during the raid on September 5.I

n the second count, the six were charged with malicious damage to property.The court heard that on the fateful day, the suspects destroyed 36 cassettes and 11 purge bins, the property of G4S valued at Sh1,267,000 in Thogoto forest.They all pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted Sh1 million bond.

Police had earlier on recovered Sh7 million from two of the suspects in custody. Six other suspects are still being held over the heist and set to appear in court.Police investigations show the masterminds of the heist were the security firm staff, police and bank staff.

The money was being moved from G4S warehouse in Industrial Area to Standard Chartered Bank in Nairobi West. Those escorting the money accessed the bank ATM and vanished later on.

They reportedly plotted how to hire two vans to ferry their loot from Nairobi West to Thogoto forest in Kikuyu where they shared the same and left in a huff.

They intentionally left behind a team that was to pick the money and roped in the two officers who were in uniforms and armed. Those scheduled for the day’s work were never picked up from their residences as earlier planned.

Deadline for withdrawal of old Sh1,000 banknotes won’t be extended, CBK says

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor, Dr Patrick Njoroge, has said the deadline for the withdrawal of the old Sh1,000 banknote will not be extended.

Dr Njoroge, while speaking in Narok during the Churchill Show live recording, reiterated that the deadline for demonetization of the old Sh1,000 banknote remains to be September 30, as earlier stated.

“Let me take this chance to remind everyone that the deadline for demonetization will still be on September 30. Hope all of you are ready. Make sure you are not left with the old Sh 1,000 note,” Njoroge said at Narok Stadium on Saturday night.

The CBK governor used the opportunity to launch a campaign dubbed ‘Badilisha noti za elfu moja sasa’ (Exchange Sh1 000 notes now).

The campaign is meant to educate the public on the importance of exchanging the old notes with the new banknotes, which were launched on June 1, 2019 and have been on circulation since then.

SENSITIZATION CAMPAIGN

For the last one month, CBK has been on a countrywide sensitization campaign ahead of September 30 deadline for the demonetization of the old-generation Sh1,000 banknotes.

During the campaign in Kwale, Dr Njoroge said the bank had not received as much of the old notes as it had anticipated.

The introduction of the new banknotes was meant to disrupt the multi-billion shillings fake currency business in Kenya and across the region.

This however is far from being achieved as fake money in circulation has been reported in many parts of the country.

Fake money in circulation ahead of deadline

Fake new generation bank notes have hit the mainstream financial market three weeks to the September 30 deadline as imitators rush to beat the Central Bank at its own game.

Investigations by Nation reveal that the counterfeiters are getting better with every revision they have hurriedly come up with, and they are perfecting the art in under three months.

SHOCKED

The fake money syndicate, which started operating in Murang’a, has now spread its tentacles to Nairobi and Kiambu counties, taking advantage of naivety of traders who are yet to know how to differentiate the real from the fake.

The introduction of new notes was hoped to disrupt the multibillion currency counterfeits business, and a move by the fraudsters to quickly imitate the money is set to be a big blow to efforts to rid the country of dirty and fake money.

Small traders and those running M-Pesa shops have been the easy targets of the counterfeiters, who now have come up with the Sh100, Sh500 and the Sh1000 notes.

The Nation attempted to test various traders, shoeshiners and parking attendants in Nairobi and Kiambu counties with some of the fake notes that were shared with us by victims. The majority easily took the cash and transferred their goods and services without telling the fake money until we pointed out.

In one of the private parking spots on Muindi Mbingu Street, the attendants gave us a Sh200 change and receipt and was shocked when we told him the money was fake. On closer scrutiny, however, and with the benefit of hindsight, he was able to tell that the money was fake but admitted that he would just have taken it and gave it to the next person.

SYNDICATE

A shoeshiners next to Jamia Mall also failed the test, but a customer easily pointed out the fake note when we handed it to him.

The response was almost the same when we tried similar tests in Ruaka, Kikuyu, Gitaru and at Monday’s egg market at Wangige in Kiambu. From the eight traders we sampled, only three immediately pointed out there was something amiss with the notes.

The others had agreed to sell us a tray of eggs and would have been victims had we not told them the money they had just put in their purse was fake.

An attendant at Kamaa butchery in Ruaka town, who received Sh2,000 fake money, says despite being very keen on all notes he received, the scammers got him on Sunday. Mr Kamaa has already pinned the Sh1,000 fake notes on his wall, and says he is too careful with customers who show up in a hurry in the evening, the peak time for meat sales. Ms Caro Luseso, who runs a hotel in Ruaka town, was also a victim of the fake cash syndicate over the weekend.

 She says she lost Sh500, which is more than half of her profits for the day.

By the time of going to press, CBK had not commented on how it plans to deal with fake currency syndicate that appears to always be one-step ahead.

PRESSURE

Fake new generation currency was first reported in Kandara, Murang’a in June, after imitators swung into action just a month after they hit the market.

Local police moved in and arrested three people, two men and a woman, who were found with fake currency notes in two separate incidents.

The CBK, which is on the spot for moving too slowly with training; from banks to now customers, is counting on the ongoing currency demonetisation process to deal with fakes.

Banks and players in the financial sector were the first to raise concerns, saying they were all caught off-guard, and the CBK took too long to start training its staff. Some operators of parking machines had not by end of last week received new machines that can dispense the new notes.

By last week, Kenyans had not yet returned over Sh100 billion in old currency even as the CBK ruled out an extension.

The US embassy has also announced that it will not be accepting the Sh1,000 old generation notes from tomorrow, an action if replicated by other agencies and businesses will put the old notes into more pressure.

How police cracked CCTV to track gang in Sh72m heist

Robbers who stole Sh72 million last week had disabled surveillance cameras in two locations in a bid to conceal their identities.

Investigations have established that closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras were switched off at the G4S warehouse on Witu Road where the cash was collected for delivery.

The robbers also tampered with cameras inside a Standard Chartered Bank ATM lobby in Nairobi West where the heist was executed last Thursday.But the plan flopped after detectives obtained surveillance videos from CCTV cameras mounted in neighbouring buildings, which they used to identify the robbers.

Skipped roll-call

“The footage captured the suspects’ faces and cars they used as they left the premises. The culprits probably did not know there were CCTVs in neighbouring structures that have helped in cracking this case,” said an investigator aware of the matter.

This is one of the flaws in a robbery said to have been planned for almost five months and that has led to the swift arrest of 20 suspects, who include bank staff, employees of security services firm G4S and police officers.Investigators have also established that there was a last-minute swap of police officers who were scheduled to transport the money.

Their replacements also skipped a roll-call before the cash was released from the G4S warehouse..According to detectives, the police officers who should have escorted the money were never picked up from their residences as earlier planned.

And at the warehouse, the names of the officers collecting the cash were not called out for identification as is routine. Instead, the officers were ushered in and out in a hurry, investigations have shown.

The G4S employees who were transporting the cash had reportedly told investigators that their three armed escorts had turned against them on the way to the bank.

While the escorts have since been identified as Administration Police officers, the security guards had claimed they were robbers masquerading as police officers.After seizing the cash in the transport van, the private security guards said their captors had forced them to reveal the passwords for the bank’s ATM.

They emptied the ATM of more cash before loading the money boxes into a getaway car and fleeing the scene.Last Friday, 13 empty cash boxes were found in Thogoto Forest in Kiambu. Investigations have shown that the gang had hired two vans to ferry their loot from Nairobi West to the forest where they shared it.

After the mission was accomplished, the getaway driver duped an unsuspecting friend to return the van to its owner.

“The money was divided among the 20 people who had made the mission a success,” said an investigator.But detectives had in the meantime sifted through footage obtained from different CCTV cameras, which they used to identify the suspects and their getaway vehicles.

That is what first led them to a Toyota Voxy van that was being repainted in a garage, where they made arrests. They later pursued and arrested two police officers and reportedly recovered Sh7 million.One suspect, a police constable from Spring Valley Police Station, had Sh3 million at his rural home in Seka village, Kendu Bay.

The money was hidden under a bed at his parents’ home, police said.The constable has been in police service for a year after he graduated from the Kenya Police College, Kiganjo.

The other officer who is based at the Thogoto AP camp was arrested in Kisii town on Saturday. Police said they found Sh4 million in a bag in the boot of his car.

He told police he had bought the Subaru Forester for Sh1.5 million last Thursday and was on his way to his rural home.

Police impostors steal Sh72m from StanChart in Nairobi West

Thieves masquerading as police officers on Thursday morning stole Sh72 million from Standard Chartered Bank in Nairobi West.

Police sources have told the Nation that part of the cash was stolen as G4S employees transported it in a van while the rest was withdrawn from an ATM.

The G4S personnel had collected money from their headquarters on Witu Road and were taking it to StanChart’s Nairobi West branch.

They left in two vehicles with men thought to be cash-in-transit officers escorting them.

13 LOADED BAGS

However, the officers turned out to be criminals on reaching Nairobi West and demanded part of the money.

Later, they demanded for StanChart’s ATM passwords and withdrew more cash.

Sources say the thieves made away with 13 bags loaded with the Sh72 million.

Govt Deals Bigger Blow to Betting Firms in New Move

Things are about to get thicker for betting firms in the country as the government mulls a new move on the de-registered firms.

According to the People Daily, the Ministry of Interior is planning to deport all foreign employees of the said firms.

The Media Max-owned newspaper further stated that the ministry targets the said individuals as most of them entered the country using tourist visas.

A photo of gamblers in a betting shop

This move comes barely two days after President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that the government won’t back down from the changes that the industry is going through.

The president revealed that he would not reverse the government’s decision to shut down the pay bill and shortcode numbers of these 27 firms until their licenses are renewed.

Uhuru also blamed the court processes noting that they were being used to frustrate the taxman and other regulatory agencies.

Interior CS, Fred Matiang’i, on Friday stated that the betting customers had 48 hours to withdraw their money in betting wallets or risk losing everything.

On the same day, the government ordered all the telecom companies to shut down the pay bills and shortcodes of the affected companies.

Earlier in May, the government deported 17 foreigners involved in illegal gambling business.

A recent report by Price Waterhouse Coopers shows that the yearly turnover of the sports betting industry in Kenya is worth Ksh2 billion, and will reach Ksh5 billion in 2020 as demand grows.

Kenyans.co.ke tried to reach officials from the Ministry of Interior to speak on the new move but they were held up in meetings for the better part of Monday.

A man places a bet on his mobile phone

Uber, Taxify drivers to go on strike today

Taxi drivers will on Monday go on strike in a push for implementation of better pricing by the dominant app companies, which they say have continued to ignore terms of a deal entered in July, last year.

According to the taxi drivers, US-based Uber and Estonian software firm Taxify have refused to negotiate in good faith with the drivers’ representatives regarding the various changes they have been making without proper consultations.

Mr John Kimani, president Digital Taxi Forum, says they will remain on strike until an agreement is reached that will be amicably acceptable by all parties and stakeholders involved.

“We have no other recourse than to begin our indefinite strike from July 15. We will be picketing and holding peaceful demonstrations daily until our concerns are addressed,” Mr Kimani said.

The taxi drivers are aggrieved that the dominant companies have been engaging in price wars, much to their detriment and third party vehicle owners who are never consulted on changes.

LOW FARES

The drivers say this has led to all-time low fares that have reduced their earnings to an unsustainable level.

In July, last year, at the Ministry of Transport, the Digital Taxi App companies (Uber, Bolt formerly Taxify, Little Cab, and others) and the Digital Taxi Forum, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create and establish a workable solution to end the conflict.

Unfortunately, nothing substantial has come out of the MOU to date. Mr Kimani says this is because the digital taxi app firms never honoured the deal, giving excuses for not honouring the same.

“Our members feel short changed. They have been patient enough awaiting implementation of the MOU to no avail,” Mr Kimani.

The Ministry of Transport had in July, 2018, agreed to sign a deal with digital taxi drivers after a lengthy meeting to iron out grievances that had also seen them down their tools.

Transport PS Paul Maringa, who chaired the talks at his Transcom House office, had stated that the department had agreed to sign a MOU with the drivers that includes a pricing structure.

Government wants Kenyan to replace Bob Collymore at Safaricom

Talk of succession at Kenya’s most profitable company Safaricom, following the death of Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore on Monday, resurfaced Tuesday with the government expressing a wish for the seat to go to a Kenyan.

However, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications Joe Mucheru said the government would not impose its wish on the company’s board.

TRANSITION

“My wish is that a Kenyan gets the position but we don’t control the business. We have appointed directors to run the business. It doesn’t mean that what the government wants is what it gets,” said Mr Mucheru.

Mr Collymore, who had led the company for nearly 10 years, succumbed to cancer on Monday morning. He was cremated in Nairobi yesterday.

A memorial service in honour of the man who transformed the telco from a successful firm to a corporate behemoth, will be held at All Saints Cathedral on Thursday.

The Safaricom board announced Tuesday morning that the company’s founding chief executive officer, Mr Michael Joseph, would take up the firm’s leadership in an interim capacity.

“Mr Joseph will hold the position until the board communicates in due course, on a permanent appointment,” Safaricom said in a statement.

“The board is confident that during this transition, Mr Joseph will provide the necessary guidance and leadership to the company and its employees.” The question of Mr Collymore’s succession arose a few months ago as his contract was due to expire in August. On May 3, he told shareholders that the board had extended his contract by one year to make up for the time he was away for treatment in 2017.

Prior to the extension, Reuters had reported that Collymore had agreed to continue as CEO for another year in May after the Kenyan government insisted that a local be picked to succeed him.

SUCCESSION

The agency reported that Safaricom had conducted interviews for Collymore’s replacement, including a senior banker, before settling on a foreigner within the Vodafone group. “But the government objected, citing an agreement supporting the appointment of a Kenyan as CEO, adopted at a shareholder meeting in 2017.”

Eyes will be on the top shareholders — Government of Kenya (35 per cent stake), Vodacom (35 per cent) and Vodafone with five per cent shareholding — on the next leader who, Mr Joseph said, must be ready and able to carry on with Collymore’s legacy.

“They just need somebody to sort of steer the company as they decide on a substantive CEO,” head of research at Standard Investment Bank Eric Musau was quoted as saying. “It is just to get that reassuring hand during this transition.”

Safaricom’s chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a said on Monday that although details of Collymore’s health condition were not always public, the board was aware of the need to have a succession plan in place for East and Central Africa’s most profitable firm.

SH1.1 TRILLION

On Tuesday, Mr Mucheru told the Nation that government was “comfortable” with the appointment of Mr Joseph on interim terms and would let the board decide on next steps.

“They (board members) are the ones that direct the company and government is not uncomfortable at all with the current arrangement. We will wait for the board to decide,” said Mr Mucheru.

“They are the ones who must find the next leader. How much time they need and who they settle on is actually in their hands, not government… We are shareholders but we will not get involved in policy decisions.” Safaricom will count on Mr Joseph, a 73-year-old dual American and Kenyan national who served as founding Safaricom’s CEO between July 2000 and November 2010, to transition the telco into new leadership.

Both Mr Joseph and the late Collymore succeeded at Safaricom in their own different ways.

Mr Joseph grew Safaricom’s customer base from as few as 20,000 subscribers to more than 16.71 million customers, led the company in listing on Nairobi Securities Exchange and launched the revolutionary M-Pesa platform.

Mr Collymore turned Safaricom into East Africa’s most profitable company with over Sh1.1 trillion valuation and deepened the telcos touch with society through sustainability programmes.

US Embassy accepts new Kenya banknotes after CBK intervention

NAIROBI, KENYA: US Embassy in Nairobi is now accepting both the old and new currency notes, a retreat from Tuesday’s announcement asking Kenyans planning to make any consulate payment to use only the old currency.

In a Tuesday tweet, the Embassy said it was working on procedures to accept the new Kenyan shillings.“Until these procedures are in place, consular applicants will only be able to pay for services using the previous Kenyan shillings.

You may also continue to pay by credit card, “read the tweet.However, in a subsequent tweet Tuesday evening, the Embassy announced the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) had provided it with equipment upgrades and training necessary to accept the new currency.

“After coordination with the Central Bank of Kenya, we have been provided with equipment upgrades and training necessary to accept the new Kenyan currency.

We now accept the new currency as well as the legacy currency valid until Oct 1.

You may also continue to pay for services by credit card,” the Consulate said in a tweet.

During the launch of the new currency notes last month, Dr. Patrick Njoroge said that the Sh50, Sh100, Sh200, and Sh500 notes will be phased out slowly but the Sh1,000 note will be phased by October.

“All the Sh1000 notes were withdrawn by a gazette notice on Friday. Those in possession have until October 31, 2019, to release them,” said Njoroge.

According to the CBK Governor, the immediate phase-out of the Sh1000 note was to help the Government in dealing with cases of counterfeits, which has impacted the economy negatively.

In an earlier circular CBK said it will not accept old bank notes by October 1. Some members of parliament are on record having dared Dr. Njoroge to push the date forward to August.

Speaking on June 4 Minority Leader of the National Assembly and Suba South MP John Mbadi said the ODM supports the introduction of the new currency notes although there are legal requirements that the Government ought to consider.

Mbadi said that contrary to earlier reports which revealed that the party called for a recall of new notes, it is instead supporting its introduction and wants the deadline to be moved to August.

He said that the notes printed bearing the statue of country’s first President Jomo Kenyatta should be allowed to be circulated and be replaced gradually with other printed notes with no such features because notes ‘wear out with time.’

Mr. Mbadi echoed his colleagues in Deputy President William Ruto’s camp who called on Central Bank to push forward the deadline for new banknotes.

Kikuyu Member of Parliament Kimani Ichungwa led legislatures in DP Ruto’s camp calling for the revision of the Sh1000 new notes to July 1.

He said the revision would allow money to be released to the economy faster for the nation’s development.

Responding to the leaders who wanted the order to be implemented immediately, CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge said the bank acted with a lot of consideration on the impact an immediate ban would have on the majority of Kenyans, especially those living in remote parts of the country.

On June 3, the bank further advised people with less than Sh5 million in the old notes to exchange at their banks and those with more than Sh5 million to do so at the Central Bank.

“We had to benchmark with countries such as India who also withdrew some banknotes from the economy, theirs was an immediate withdrawal which also had its shortfalls,” said Governor Njoroge.