BY SAM ALFAN.
The Asset Recovery Agency has gazetted an order prohibiting Mandera County Government agriculture department director and his wife from withdrawing or transferring over 62 million shillings held in their bank accounts suspected to be proceeds of crime.
On a gazette notice No. 2838 under the proceeds of crime and Anti-Money Laundering act, the agency director gave notice to Abdi Mohamed Ali and Saadia Sheikh Osman that the high court issued preservation in Nairobi Miscellaneous application No. 11 of 2020 barring them from transferring or withdrawing the money in question for a period of six months.
The High court last month barred Mandera County Government agriculture department director and his wife from withdrawing or transferring over 62.2 million shillings held in their bank accounts suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Justice Jessie Lessit prohibited Abdi Mohammed, an employee of Mandera county government either by himself, representatives, employees or any person acting on his behalf from dealing, withdrawing or transferring shillings 40,806,532.00 million held at his Bank , Mandera branch.
The judge also ordered Abdi’s wife, Saadia Sheikh Osman either by herself, agents or employees from transacting ,withdrawing or transferring shilling 21,448,100.00 million held in their names her and the husband Abdi Mohamed Ali at Equity Bank ,Mandera branch.
The court preserved the 62.2 million held in their accounts for six months pending forfeiture to the state if they fail to explain the source of millions suspected to be stolen from Mandera County government.
“A preservation order is hereby issued prohibiting Abdi Mohamed Ali and Saadia Sheikh Osman representatives, employees ,agents, servants or any other persons acting on their behalf from transacting, withdrawing, transferring or dealing in any manner howsoever in respect of funds held in the two accounts for a period of sixty six days from today. ” Ordered judge Lessit.
The court directed the matter to be mention before high court Anti-Corruption court on May 19, this year for further directions.
This is after Asset Recovery Agency filed an application seeking to preserve the said funds suspected to be proceeds of crime stolen from the county government.
Asset Recovery Agency filed an urgent application before High court Anti-corruption court seeking to preserve the money, suspecting it to be proceed of crime, having been siphoned from the Madera County government.
Sergeant Fredrick Musyoki, an investigator with the agency said on the February 20, 2020 they received information that the two accounts were suspected to hold money which is suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Both accounts are held are at Equity Bank Mandera Branch.
The Agency said it opened an Inquiry file number 7 of 2020 to investigate the activities in the said accounts for the purpose of ascertaining whether they hold any funds that are proceeds of crime.
And on February 25, 2020, he filed an ex-Parte application seeking orders to search, inspect, seize, freeze and preserve funds in the said accounts owned or controlled by the couple.
The investigator Respondents was granted 14 days.
The investigations later revealed massive cash deposits into the two bank accounts.
“The said bank accounts received suspicious huge cash deposits in Kenya Shillings and the funds are suspected to be stolen and/or fraudulently acquired from Mandera County Government by the Respondents, their agents or representatives and deceitfully deposited into the above accounts”, the agency said.
The investigations revealed that the cash deposits were unlawfully acquired hence proceeds of crime pursuant to the Provisions of Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act.
The agency adds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accounts are used as conduits of money laundering contrary to Sections 3, 4 and 7 as read together with Section 16 of Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act.
“There are reasonable grounds to believe that the funds held in the Respondents’ accounts, were deposited by the Respondents or their agents, associates and conduits from illegitimate sources, designed to conceal their sources and were a scheme of Money Laundering contrary to the provisions of Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act (POCAMLA) and thus proceeds of crime liable to be preserved pending filing and determination of intended forfeiture application by the Applicant”, adds the agency.