The Kenya Defence Forces yesterday confirmed that it took money for safe keeping from businesses at the Westgate Mall. Military spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir tweeted that KDF soldiers took over Sh300 million and other items from banks, forex bureaus, a casino and Nakumatt supermarket.
"Over 300million (was) repatriated from the banks, forex and casino at the Westgate," Chirchir said on Twitter. "Barclays, KCB, we secured your Westgate branch and facilitated the repatriation of your money to include the ATMs," Chirchir said.
He also referred to Diamond Trust and CFC banks. "DTB Bank custodial services was evacuated safely with documents of substantial value," he said. The Kenya Bankers Association yesterday said they were unaware of any cash recovery and repatriation.
"For us we are not aware, but maybe the military is reaching out to individual banks," said KBA chairman Habil Olaka. "It would also be good to list the shops that were vandalised out of the over 80 stores. So far Bata shop has talked of its shop being intact," Chirchir tweeted.
On Thursday the Star carried an exclusive story that CCTV footage from the Westgate Mall attack showed some soldiers emptying the tills in Nakumatt into plastic bags. Most shops in Westgate were looted including jewellery, watch, clothing and mobile shops were emptied. ATMs, banks and a casino also lost funds.
Amateur video shows bottles of alcohol all over Artcaffe after a drinking spree. The CCTV footage showed three soldiers are seen walking out of the Nakumatt supermarket with plastic shopping bags filled with cash.
Police are reportedly trying to identify them to bring charges against them. Yesterday, Chirchir accused unnamed persons of spreading smear stories against KDF. "KDF did a fantastic job, we know our enemies who have decided to use propaganda to undermine our public good will," he tweeted.
"We welcome evidence, witnesses and any leads that will point towards theft? The Star talked of some footage, where is it?" Chirchir tweeted. From Saturday evening, KDF put a security ring 300 metres away from the mall so it is unlikely that witnesses will be available.
KDF has urged anyone with evidence of unprofessional conduct during the Westgate siege to hand it over to the Defence ministry through email address firstname.lastname@example.org or phones 0726 419706 and 0726 020272 Yesterday the government also moved to legalize the KDF operation at Westgate through a gazette notice.
The Defence secretary gazetted that the deployment was done in line with Article 241(3) (b) that "KDF shall assist and cooperate with other authorities in situations of emergency or disaster, and report to the National Assembly whenever deployed in such circumstances."