Imperial clients demand payment of bank deposits

What you need to know:

  • Group plans to file a class action suit if their demand is not met within seven days.

A section of Imperial Bank depositors has demanded that the Central Bank of Kenya pays all of the collapsed lender’s customers the amounts they had in their accounts before collapse of the bank, arguing that the regulator’s inability to act with speed is to blame for their current predicament.

The 50 Imperial Bank depositors have sent a demand letter to CBK governor Patrick Njoroge and board chair Mohammed Nyaoga indicating that they plan to file a class action suit against them if their demand is not met within seven days.

The depositors, led by businessman Kishor Samani, hold that the CBK’s decision to shut the bank is aimed at covering up illicit deals that its employees struck with former managers.

Mr Samani and team argues that the many recovery suits the CBK has filed against suspected architects of the 13-year old, Sh44.9 billion scam at Imperial Bank are aimed at punishing the collapsed lender’s directors while giving depositors false hope of re-opening.

“It is our instructions that as part of a well-orchestrated scheme designed and executed by the governor and CBK with a view to delude, mislead and cover up the culpability of the CBK, the CBK gave a green light to the filing of a flourish of suits in the High Court against anyone in sight.”

“Allowing a few pre-selected banks to cherry pick prime customers and in the process suppress the value of assets is aimed at sabotaging the recovery process. Take notice that if we don’t hear from you along the lines we make herein above within the next seven days from the date herein, we will institute a suit against the CBK and the governor without any further reference to you,” the depositors say.

The seven-day ultimatum issued by the depositors will lapse on Wednesday, the CBK governor and Mr Nyaoga to whom the demand was addressed are yet to respond to the letter.

The 50 depositors reckon that former CBK governor Njuguna Ndung’u’s implication in an email exchange where he and his wife sought favours from Imperial Bank is evidence that the industry regulator was part of the Sh44.9 billion scam.

The CBK has filed three recovery suits against the family of former managing director Abdulmalek Janmohammed, 20 companies and businessmen from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania at the centre of the scandal, former Imperial Bank bosses James Kaburu and Naeem Shah, and the directors of the collapsed lender.

The three suits are ongoing in the commercial division of the High Court.

Another section of depositors has formed a lobby group and joined a suit the CBK filed against perpetrators of the Sh44.9 billion scam in September.

The depositors lobby group wants the High Court to freeze assets owned by Imperial Bank’s directors until the suit has been determined.

American audit firm FTI Consulting’s audit report on the collapsed lender states that directors at the bank were direct beneficiaries of the scam that was unearthed when Mr Janmohammed died last year after suffering a heart attack.

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