Christine Gachiko Njeri was yesterday arrested by Banking Fraud officers for spreading a malicious report claiming that Family Bank was about to be put under receivership.
According to a story on The Star, the 35 year old businesswoman was arrested in her house by detectives Investigation Unit.
The story confirms that Banking Fraud Investigation Unit boss Ngatia Iregi said they had been investigating the matter since Wednesday when the message started to spread on social media.
The arrest comes two days after Family Bank has assured customers of a strong financial position amid rumours of financial hurdles and placement under receivership.
The rumours came days after Central Bank Governor Dr. Patrick Njoroge endorsed the prosecution of the bank’s top officials over the Sh1.6 billion NYS scandal. In a letter to Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss Ndegwa Muhoro and Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko dated August 12, Njoroge said the prosecution of Family Bank officials implicated in the scam would send a strong message to banking sector players.
“The prosecution of Family Bank and other related parties involved in non–compliance with reporting is unlikely to have an adverse impact on the bank. On the contrary, it will have a positive effect on the sector and enhance accountability,” he said.
Family Bank chairman Wilfred Kiboro noted in a statement on Thursday that customers had been asked to withdraw their savings to keep from losing them. Kiboro told them to ignore the “negative statements and malicious rumours” that he said were aimed at tainting the bank’s image.
“We wish to reassure our 1.7 million customers that we are open for business and you can count on us to continue serving you. Be sure that we will ensure we live up to your expectations,” he said.
Christine Gachiko Njeri is expected to be presented in court next week for charges to be lodged against her.
The case comes comes at a time when two other banks, National Bank and Chase Bank alluded to social media as having led to the financial turmoil. But in none of these cases have people been presented formally in court or even charged.
In the National Bank case, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet cautioned the public against making unsubstantiated claims touching on the banking sector, some of which have created panic in the recent past.
“We have arrested David Mukunzi Zawadi to face the relevant charges related to misuse of social media to disseminate falsehoods about the banking sector,” said Boinnet.
“It’s one thing to alert acquaintances about matters that are truthful and factual, but we shall not allow persons driven by malicious considerations to peddle falsehoods to mislead members of the public,” he added.
However, online research of those names is empty. Moreover, no such individual has ever been arrested and charged in court since April 2016 when Boinnet made the remarks.