Court freezes Ksh.93.5M in KERRA official’s accounts over alleged money laundering scheme


Court freezes Ksh.93.5M in KERRA official's accounts over alleged money laundering scheme

The High Court has frozen the accounts of a top official at the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) for alleged mega-corruption.

The authority’s deputy director in charge of supply chain management Margaret Wanja Muthui and her proxies are now barred from withdrawing over Ksh.93.5 million held at three different bank accounts in the country.

Muthui is accused of diverting a whopping Ksh.264.5 million to purchase 11 apartment blocks registered under different names, with the Assets Recovery Agency now seeking to recover all the assets said to be proceeds of public theft.

The 11 apartment blocks are located in Nairobi’s Signature Apartments in Kileleshwa.

Muthui is said to have transferred the properties to Light House Trading Company, which is registered under the names of her alleged accomplices Mercy Wambui Nyambura, Cynthia Wanjiku Nyambura and Grace Nyambura Ndiritu, who are also now part of the court proceedings.

Eight out of the eleven apartment blocks are registered under Light House Trading Company, with the remaining three bearing the names of Mercy, Cynthia and Grace.

Further, Light House Trading Company is listed in the case as owning 24 apartments at Taraji Residence in Ruaka area of Kiambu County.

A probe into the scheme revealed that the KeRRA deputy director made the purchases of the 11 apartments within 3 months in 2019, in what investigators say was a scheme to hide illegally obtained money.

The Assets Recovery Agency has now obtained orders to freeze the accounts and recover the listed properties, as well as to directly receive rental income from the 11 listed apartment blocks to its Cooperative Bank account until the matter is heard and determined.

Likewise, the chief land registrar has been directed to register caveats against each of the apartments to ensure they are now sold or transferred.

Those listed as beneficiaries and owner of the properties have been given a seven day deadline to surrender original land titles, leases or registration documents on the said properties.

In the heightened war on corruption, the agency has frozen the account of businesswoman Esther Wagio Njunge, a director at Light House Trading Company; a fixed deposit account with Cooperative Bank holding Ksh.74.7 million.

Likewise, a fixed deposit account at Cooperative Bank belonging to Muthui holding Ksh.13.9 million has been frozen. with the assets agency terming this as a well-orchestrated web of money laundering and corruption.

The Assets Recovery Agency is a semi-autonomous body created by the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2009 with powers to seize and recovery ill-gotten public wealth.

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Story By Sam Ogina
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