High Court has frozen another Sh49 million that a Belgian man had sent to a sister of his girlfriend as a gift on suspicion that it is proceeds of crime, bringing the total amount blocked to Sh264 million.
The money frozen last week was in two Equity Bank accounts, one holding Sh3.1 million and the other 355,990 euros (Sh45.6 million), in the name of Jane Wangui Kago.
Ms Wangui is sister of Tebby Wambui Kago, whose Sh108 million from Belgian Marc De Mesel was also frozen last month.
She claimed the Belgian was Ms Wambui’s boyfriend, adding a fresh twist to the cash-freeze suit given Mr De Mesel was also linked to Ms Felesta Nyamathira Njoroge whom he had sent another Sh107 million that was frozen amid suspicion of the source of the millions from the cryptocurrency dealer.
The Belgian had indicated in the declaration documents that Ms Njoroge, a 21-year-old Nairobi Technical Institute student, was “free to use the money to secure financial security for our future children”.
Ms Wangui had indicated that the Sh49 million “gift” was meant to boost her salon and clothes business in Ruiru.
The woman told the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) that she opened the Euro account in July for purpose of receiving the funds from De Messel.
“The respondent (Ms Wangui) is suspected to be part of a syndicate involved in a complex money laundering scheme involving a foreign national Marc De Messel who is suspected to be the kingpin of the money laundering scheme,” the agency told the court.
When asked by the agency how she came to know the Belgian, Ms Wangui revealed that the man was a boyfriend of her sister- Wambui– and had resided with her in Ruiru before acquiring an apartment at Garden City on Thika Road.
He later flew out of the country and has been sending money to them, she said.
In a statement filed before the agency Ms Wangui says De Messel started living with her sister sometimes in November 2018.
She further says the Belgian and her sister met in 2017 at the famous Pirates public beach in Mombasa and soon became lovers.
Ms Wangui says the two later moved in together at an apartment in Garden City a year later and got a child.
The man later gave Wambui Sh20 million, which she used to build a house for their mother in Thogoto, Kiambu County.
The statement is, however, different from that of Ms Njoroge whose accounts were the first to be frozen last month after receiving Sh107 million from Mr De Messel.
Ms Njoroge claimed the Belgian was her boyfriend. The Agency suspects that the Belgian is a money laundering kingpin and the money should be frozen awaiting completion of the probe into the source.
Justice Grace Nzioka prohibited Ms Wangui from withdrawing the money, pending the determination of the case.
“The respondent, her servants, employees, agents or any other person is prohibited from withdrawing, transacting, transferring or dealing in any manner with the said money,” the judge ruled.
The agency told the court that there was imminent risk that the funds may be withdrawn, transferred or dispatched if the preservation orders are not granted.
Last week, Ms Njoroge told the court that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) had cleared the Sh107 million sent to her by De Messel
Ms Njoroge said in court filings that the taxman froze the money on August 18, about two weeks after De Mesel wired the millions to her accounts. The taxman cleared the money two weeks later.
The KRA froze the money under Section 43 of the Tax Procedures Act but upon conclusion of investigations, the student says the order was lifted.
“Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) returned a not guilty verdict and unfroze the account of the applicant on 30th September, 2021,” her lawyer said in the submissions filed in court.
Justice Esther Maina later froze the money after the ARA argued that the funds are believed to be part of money laundering scheme.
SOURCE: BUSINESS DAILY AFRICA