The Assets Recovery Agency is seeking to freeze a bank account, owned by a Kenyan student, holding over Ksh. 100 million amid concerns that the cash could be proceeds of crime.
The Nairobi Technical Training Institute student, 21-year-old Felesta Nyamathira Njoroge, has however insisted that the Ksh.102,654,024 in her Co-operative Bank account was a gift from her Belgian boyfriend, De Mesel Marc, to do with it as she pleases.
According to the Agency, the bank account in question was opened on August 2, 2021 and the cash wired via a tetrad of transactions in a period of three days.
The first deposit of Ksh.25,803,756 was made on August 4, 2021, after which Ksh. 25,803,756 was wired the next day. On August 6, two separate transactions of Ksh.25,242,756 and Ksh. 25,579,356 were made to Felesta’s account. The account held no cash before the suspicious transactions were made.
The Assets Agency also claimed that they issued summons to Felesta on October 18, 2021, to shed light on the transactions only for her advocates to write back a day later and say the summons were vague and had no legal grounds.
“In the letter, the legal representative making reference to the summons dated 18 October 2021 sought for “better and proper particulars of the alleged offence with regards to what information you wish to acquire from our client,” the Agency’s affidavit read in part.
“It further stated, the summons issued by yourself are vague in nature as we would like a further explanation so as to advise her on what documentation she needs to bring with her.”
The Agency also claims that the advocates later informed it that Njoroge left the country in October and the lawyers have since gone mum on when she is expected back in the country.
The agency is of the opinion that the cash bank account was used as a conduit for money laundering and they are fearful that the account could be emptied if no action is taken to freeze the money.
“There are reasonable grounds to suspect the funds held in the account in the name of the respondent, are illicit funds in which the respondent is involved in a money-laundering scheme, designed to conceal and disguise the nature, source location and movement of the funds,” the affidavit reads.
“Unless this honorable court grants the orders sought, the respondent will continue to enjoy the benefits derived from proceeds of crime,” the affidavit said.
Senior State Counsel Stephen Githinji consequently insisted that the matter should be treated with urgency and Felesta’s account frozen to allow for investigations.
“It is in the interest of justice that preservation orders do issue the Respondent and/or her agents or representatives from dealing in any manner with the aforementioned assets.”