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Security firm Wells Fargo has admitted fault in a November 2023 heist that saw its employees steal Sh94.9 million while transporting the cash to a bank in Nairobi.

Wells Fargo has offered to pay Quickmart Sh80 million in line with the valuables in transit contract it had with Quickmart.

Wells Fargo’s general manager, valuables in transit, Peter Walters says in court papers that the firm is ready to pay the Sh80 million.

Quickmart sued Wells Fargo in February 2024 and accused the security firm of breaching their valuables in transit contracts.

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This means that Quickmart may have to take a Sh14.9 million haircut, as the contract capped Wells Fargo’s indemnity of the retailer at Sh80 million.

The security firm is to pay the funds from an insurance policy it took out with an undisclosed underwriter.

“I confirm the defendant (Wells Fargo) is now in a position to make a payment of Ksh. 80,000,000. The defendant is not liable for the claims of interest and costs of the suit or for any sum over and above Ksh. 80,000,000,” Mr Walters says.

“Pursuant to the provisions of clause 2(a) of the contract, the defendant accepts that it is bound to indemnify the plaintiff (Quickmart) against loss or damage up to the limit specified in the contract and which occurred during the period of the defendant’s responsibility and which was due to the sole negligence or dishonesty whatsoever, whether it amounted to fraud of the defendant’s employees whilst acting in the course of their employment.”

Two Wells Fargo employees allegedly colluded with a police escort to steal the Sh94.9 million that they were transporting to a bank. They had collected the funds from Quickmart’s several branches across Nairobi.

The vehicle transporting the money was found dumped in South C. Eight people were arrested in November 2023 but the two main suspects who allegedly made away with the money are still at large. Police recovered Sh9.1 million in 2023.

Court papers show that Quickmart signed a valuables-in-transit contract with Wells Fargo in 2021. Mr Walters says in court papers that the security firm filed a claim with its insurer on the same day that the money was stolen, and that it has kept Quickmart updated on the status of things.

“Wells Fargo and I were in constant communication with representatives of the plaintiff (Quickmart) and it is not correct that the defendant was unresponsive or uncommunicative. The defendant who had insured itself against potential risk that attends the valuables in transit services, had to report the matter to its insurer who as is the practice then engaged a loss adjuster to adjust the loss,” Mr Walters says.

The court papers indicate that the contract between Quickmart and Wells Fargo provided for mediation in the event of a dispute.

But the retailer is yet to initiate mediation proceedings but had sought the court’s intervention in getting paid.

A source close to the matter told the Business Daily that Wells Fargo has sought to have the court case marked as settled after it pays the Sh80 million stipulated as the security firm’s liability.

—Source: BD

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