Court freezes over Ksh.115 million belonging to Kenyan woman in money laundering fight

Corporative Bank salary loan advance hit Ksh.44 billion in 9 months

Anti-Corruption Court froze Ksh.115 million wired from Mauritius to a Kenyan woman in an intensified fight against money laundering.

A woman identified as Isabel Nyaguthii Wanjohi is an employee of Platinum Credit Limited and the cash was wired to her Standard Chartered bank account.

The Assets Recovery Authority (ARA) said Wanjohi received $1million (Ksh.116.9 million current conversion rate) on April 13 from Platcorp Holding Limited purported to be an unsecured loan whose purpose wasn’t disclosed.

ARA also said that she wanted to wire the cash to South Africa via swift transfer without a proper reason.

Consequently, Lady Justice Esther Maina of the  Anti-corruption court directed the bank to transfer the money to ARA for preservation, pending determination of the case.

It resonates with a similar case in December last year when Lady Justice Maina also allowed ARA to recover monies that belonged to two Kenyan women.

Even though they did not show business or employment records, the duo, Tebby Wambuku Kago and Felesta Nyamathira Njoroge (21 years) had the Ksh.113 million and Ksh.102 million respectively deposited in three different accounts by a Muzungu boyfriend.

Authorities believed that the amounts held in Equity Bank and Stanbic Bank were proceeds of crime.

An analysis showed deposits amounting to Ksh.102 million were made to the account in a span of four days from August 6 to August 10 2021.

The funds were deposited by Belgian Marc De Mesel, a cryptocurrency expert.

De Mesel, the boyfriend, sent another Ksh.102 million between August 4 and August 6 to Felesta in her account at Co-operative Bank.

A report tabled before the U.S Congress on March 9 last year exposed Kenya’s vulnerability to money laundering, financial fraud and terrorism financing.

The vices are perpetuated through the growing use of mobile money transfer platforms, the hawala system of banking and Trade-Based Money Laundering.

This saw President Uhuru Kenyatta on October 20, 2021, unleash new restrictive measures to regulate cash movement within the economy, aimed at combating money laundering activities.

Anti-Money Laundering Fight

The State-backed Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2021 seeks to enable Financial Reporting Centres (FRC) and other security agencies to stop criminal activities before they occur.

Amendments give FRC authority to stop the transactions for not more than five working days and allow other State agencies to investigate them.

“The Centre [FRC] may, for purposes of achieving the objectives of the Act, direct the reporting institution or person, in writing not to proceed with the transaction or proposed transaction or any other transaction in respect of the funds or property affected by that transaction or proposed transaction,” says the Bill.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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