Little was known about Imperial Bank ex-chairman Abdulmalek Janmohammed until his shenanigans at the financial institution were brought to light. The secretive ex-chief executive orchestrated the theft of Ksh34 billion at the now collapsed bank in what the Standard newspaper partly reported as “one of the biggest and most elaborate bank heists in Kenyan history”.
In this article, WoK brings you the story of Abdulmalek Janmohammed and how he steered the bank to its deathbed.
Abdulmalek Janmohammed served as the chairman and Managing Director (MD) of Imperial Bank until his death in September 2015. His life was a mystery and those who interacted with him only knew a part of him, the side he allowed them to see. Despite being successful in life and making Ksh 5 million a month, at 56 years old he was still living with his parents at their home along Riverside Drive in Nairobi.
He lived a private life and kept his circle small having only two friends who would help him in secretly executing his plans. He owned an old Mitsubishi Lancer and a Mitsubishi Galant, contrary to what many would expect of him. In 2011 when Simba Colt began selling BMW vehicles, he bought a BMW 5 Series which he never drove. In 2015 when his ‘inside jobs’ to siphon money from the bank were exposed to the world, the man collapsed and died on 30th September 2015.
Inside The Ksh 30 billion heist
According to documents filed by Imperial Bank in court, Abdulmalek Janmohamed together with WE Tilley (Muthaiga) Limited initiated a scheme to siphon money from the bank between 2002 to 2015. The details are contained in court documents files by Imperial Bank directors and shareholders in a court case in which they sued WE Tilley and 19 other individuals and entities for the loss of Ksh 34 billion.
The individuals conspired with Janmohamed to fraudulently credit between Ksh 10 million to Ksh 100 million on a weekly basis to WE Tilley (Muthaiga) limited account, from where the money was transferred to other accounts. According to the court documents, the accused were allowed to open transaction accounts which allowed them to access funds which would later be transferred to other ‘Special Loan Accounts.’ To further conceal their fraudulent activities, Janmohamed and other senior staff created a fictitious account under Hanscombe Management Limited which they used to divert over Ksh 30 billion from Imperial Bank as reported by the Standard newspaper.
“That notwithstanding, an account was retained by the bank in its name and entries amounting to Ksh 30,310,517,186 made in the said account to conceal the illegal transactions carried out by the deceased (Janmohamed) and senior officers of the bank and their associates who include the defendants,” read a part of the court documents.
Investigations also revealed that the owners of Imperial Bank registered a separate company, Downstream Investments Limited which they used to acquire a stake in Dubai Islamic Bank and to apply for a banking license to open a Kenyan subsidiary. According to a report by Kenya Deposits Insurance Corporation (KDIC), Downstream Investments is owned by nine companies, eight of which owned 100 percent of Imperial Bank.
Imperial Bank was owned by Downstream Investments – which are in turn owned by Imran Limited, Abdulmal Investments, Reynold & Company, East Africa Motors Industries, Momentum Holdings, Kenblest Limited and Janco Investments. These companies are co-owned Abdulmalek Janmohamed, Mr Popat, Hanif Amirali Somji, Vishnu Dhutia, Mukesh Kumar Patel, Jinit Shah and Anwar Hajee. Most of these individuals served as Imperial Bank directors.
How he controlled those who worked for him
According to the Standard, the former Imperial Bank MD used money, intimidation and allowed those who never interfered with him to have a free reign.