ATPU probe reveals network, financiers behind Dusit attack

Suspects of the Dusit terror attack at a Milimani court on Wednesday, January 23. 2019. /COLLINS KWEYU
Suspects of the Dusit terror attack at a Milimani court on Wednesday, January 23. 2019. /COLLINS KWEYU

A suspect linked to the Dusit terror attack received Sh9 million from South Africa through M-Pesa over a three-month period and sent the cash to Somalia, the Anti-Terror Police Unit investigations have revealed.

Hassan Nur had 52 M-Pesa agent accounts and 47 of them were registered between October and December last year, each with a SIM card.

He used different IDs to register the SIM cards.

ATPU’s inspector Monicah Githaiga on Wednesday said her team is in the process of obtaining the SIM cards' details.

The agents received the cash that was later withdrawn at the Diamond Trust Bank, Eastleigh branch before it was later wired to Somalia.

Nur received the money using two handsets where he inserted the SIM cards and made calls to Somalia immediately after receiving the cash.

The suspect, who also ran a tour firm, was arrested along Waiyaki Way in Westlands on Tuesday.

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Lawyer Abdinoor Ismael, a graduate of Kenya School of Law undergoing pupilage, received over Sh100 million that the ATPU believes has been used to finance terrorist activities.

A TV journalist is also among those the ATPU is seeking to hold for 30 days as investigations continue.

The journalist, Ismael Ambitham, was in constant communication with terrorist Ali 'Salim' Gichunge who died during the attack, and his spouse Violet Kemunto.

Ismael, Ambitham and Nur were in constant communication with individuals in Somalia believed to be members of al Shabaab or the terror group's sympathisers.

Githaiga yesterday said Ambitham’s phone led to his arrest on Tuesday after detectives established his communication with the Gichunges.

The suspect works for Horizon TV as a social media representative and Githaiga says he was heavily involved in laundering the money and transactions believed to have been used for terrorism purposes.

Ambitham and Ali Khamis, the marketing manager for the Horizon TV, were in active communication with individuals in Somalia believed to be for coordination of the attack.

Businessman Faisal Mohamed, who runs a parcel business was also in constant communication with both Nur and Gichunge and is believed to have been contracted to deliver parcels to Dusit Hotel complex.

Detectives say during their investigations, they established Mohamed was also involved in planning the Garissa University terror attack where 150 people were killed on April 2, 2015.

The manager of the bank where Nur was withdrawing the money, Sophia Mbogo, was also arrested for failing to report Nur’s suspicious transactions.

The ATPU on Wednesday sought 30 days custodial orders to continue with investigations.

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The anti-terror unit says all the six suspects were arrested for aiding and abetting the terrorist attack especially in facilitating financial movements.

In the affidavit filed before senior principal magistrate Martha Mutuku by assistant assistant DPP Duncan Ondimu, Githaiga says the investigators are currently in the process of interviewing all the suspects.

The detective said forensic examining of the electronic gadgets including mobile phones, financial records and call data records is still ongoing.

But Mbogo’s lawyers opposed the application to detain her over the links to the attack. They argued that she has no connection with the other suspects.

They said her only misdoing could be the failure to report the suspicious transactions made by Nur.

Mutuku directed all the defence to file responding affidavits on Thursday.