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The Cry Of An Imperial Bank Depositor To CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge

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It all started on the 13th of October. I went to the bank only to find a notice attached to the door stating the bank is currently under receivership. At first, I thought it was probably wind up as only a month before did I fix a deposit with the bank. I have worked for no less than 35 years of my life through so many ups and downs. But none comes close to what I felt on the day that I saw the bank being placed under receivership.

A receivership in other regions of the world usually bodes well for the depositors and creditors but ‘this is Kenya’ was the first thing that struck my mind. I felt like collapsing. My family, my kids hard earnt money is locked up in IBL. What was I going to say to them? Most people have limited or no faith in the Kenyan judicial system. Justice in Kenya is something that has never been easy to achieve, in most cases it’s nonexistent. Most of my friends from around the world thought I was crazy in investing in Kenya.

At the time, I disagreed with them and went ahead to give my family a stable life. For some people like the shareholders, they deal in billions. I don’t expect even to come close to those figures in my lifetime. I was happy with what I had. God had blessed me and helped me achieve what others might deem to be nothing.

My family to this day is torn over what the Kenya’s central bank’s governor will decide in regards to the fate of our locked deposits and funds. We are simple people. We are old. We invested our money

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We have never taken a cent from anyone. We spent our money to help us reach our goal which was to  eventually have enough to get one house for our family. Everything has been taken away from us and all other innocent depositors in an instant. We were grateful when we got the first Sh.1M released to us, but that’s just a small portion compared to what we had in the bank. Is it right that we work so hard in our life for years only to have our money frozen away from us without any form of access to it?

We paid our taxes, obeyed his law. We always believed that the laws are there to protect us. Were we wrong? Worked hard. Saved money for old age, for giving our family a headstart only to

Imperial Bank Offices

 Then get robbed. I recall the president of Kenya saying no depositor will lose a penny. That all will be fully reimbursed was he only referring to chase bank? Are imperial bank customers not people? Why isolate us? We are all people created by God. We shouldn’t be discriminating people based on their caste or nationality or color.

We, depositors, feel as if we are being discriminated against. Only three weeks to go until we learn of the way forward. Only three weeks to go until we learn of the way forward. But do you think it would be fair to announce a way forward without giving us access to at least a substantial amount of money to keep businesses, family, bills amongst other stuff going?

What have we done to deserve to wait for eight months without any meaningful access to our money? DR NJOROGE I know you know the world is following the IBL case with a keen eye but please don’t just focus on turning this into criminal proceedings that will drag on while we depositors are left to suffer. We did our part.

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We fulfill all our responsibilities to the Kenyan government. We trusted the regulator to be able to sniff anything that was about to go wrong before it caused severe damage to depositors. We feel that we have been failed. We depositors are not to blame for any of this but for some reason, we are getting punished the most.

At times, I feel that you are more focused on other stuff rather than the depositors , the people that matter. Why are we depositors getting punished? Why do we feel that we are being blamed for their shareholders lack of cooperation towards CBK?

 Imperial Bank board chairman Alnashir Popat is overcome with emotions during a briefing

Imperial Bank board chairman Alnashir Popat is overcome with emotions during a briefing

You said you were raised up to help people. Why don’t you help us IBL depositors? We ain’t asking for anything more other than what belongs to us. Losing even 10% of our money could take more than a year or 2 to claw back. We have suffered enough. Days are getting tougher, times getting slower. It’s the month of Ramadhan. We can’t even afford to pay zakat to our old folks. People that have been dependent on us for decades. What do we say to them? We don’t know what to think anymore. Who in all of this truly wants to help us?

Who in all of this truly wants to help us? We hope it’s you Njoroge but until the end of June we won’t know. Please put yourself in our shoes just for a day and then tell us how you would have felt both mentally and emotionally. Is it right that thousands are made to suffer due to a problem that’s outside their control? We expected CBK to be cracking down on rogue bankers.

Imperial Bank Depositors demonstrating in Nairobi

Imperial Bank Depositors demonstrating in Nairobi

Mistakes can happen and it might have slipped through their watch by accident or they might have been involved or shareholders planned everything step by step including the limiting of evidence to avoid being found guilty. Our question is how is this of any help to us? We are still suffering. The statements being released by shareholders, the media are not helping. If anything it deepens our pain even more… if you want Kenya to be great, Njoroge start by sympathizing with us.

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Start by giving us access to our hard earned money. Start by ensuring we all get our money back in full if possible. But please don’t make us wait anymore than what we have been asked to wait so far. We will wait till end of June but we can’t help but fear that in Kenya people’s hope are built up only to then get crashed down. Please give us access to what was ours. Don’t punish us for the regulator and shareholders disagreements.

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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [in.kenyawest@protonmail.com]

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