On the night of the robbery, Mr Mithika was the last employee to leave, and he was the first to arrive the following day.
Mr Mithika had keys to the branch’s strong room during a stint as acting operations manager. Conveniently, cameras monitoring the bank were not working on the night of the robbery and the morning after. Only the systems administrator had access to controls of the CCTV cameras.
Alarms also failed to go off on the night of the robbery.
The main door to the computer room, where the money was stolen from, had a time lock. Somehow, the main door was also not working on that day.
Whenever the computer room’s main door malfunctioned, the emergency door was used.
In this case, the emergency door did not have a time lock, which enabled the thief to take the money.
On December 3, 2018, Chief Magistrate H. N. Ndung’u acquitted Mr Mithika but found Ms Kanorio and Mr Wanjohi guilty of the robbery. Ms Kanorio’s lawyer, Victor Olao, took issue with the conviction because her keys were still locked in a drawer.
The two appealed the suit, questioning why the magistrate overlooked the fact that no investigation was done after the money was traced to Mr Linturi’s account, or on the senator’s relationship to Mr Mithika.
The appeal filed by Mr Olao also faulted Ms Ndung’u for overlooking the fact that prosecutors did not call, as witnesses, security guards on duty during the robbery.
“Throughout the dragged trial, the prosecution did not present direct evidence connecting Ms Kanorio to the stolen monies. Instead it glared at the possibilities of where the money could be traced, and in fact on that reason transferred the case to Nairobi at one point.”
“In all these, Ms Kanorio did not feature. The only evidence that they sought to suggest (this was not proved) to the court is that, it is Ms Kanorio’s bunch of keys that might have been used during the incident,” Mr Olao argued.
The six-year trial was difficult for the entire family. Her husband Joseph Guantai was forced to sell a truck he used for business to sustain legal fees and transport from Ongata Rongai to Meru. “I had to sell my transport truck. I had a tender with the East Africa Growers for supply of avocados for export. I was unable to continue with the business.”
“After the conviction, people would ask me why we bothered appealing as it was just 15 months and my wife was only likely to serve 10 months. I would tell them that the appeal was not about the sentence but to clear my wife’s name,” Mr Guantai said.
The couple has two children, a son and daughter.
Terminal benefits from Co-operative Bank were channelled to ensure their daughter finished her studies in Australia.
For their son, it was a different fate. He had to leave Moscow, Russia, where he was pursuing a dream in aeronautical engineering. He returned to Kenya and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in economics.
She still hopes to one day earn enough money to take her son to South Africa to finish his aeronautical engineering degree.
While in prison, Ms Kanorio started a programme to aid jailbirds imprisoned over illegal businesses such as brewing illicit alcohol and cooking in insanitary conditions.
The programme, dubbed Alternative Business Opportunities Training, encourages women to pool resources and invest in legitimate businesses that require little capital.
Ms Kanorio hopes to one day set up her own bank or microfinance lending institution.
A staunch Christian, Ms Kanorio insists anyone that may have been involved in seeing her go through the criminal trial is forgiven, and believes that God will one day set things right.