Mandera County staff in trouble for Sh62m bank cash

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Mandera County staff in trouble for Sh62m bank cash

The assets recovery agency links the cash to crime, saying it has been siphoned from the county. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The High Court on Thursday froze two accounts holding Sh62 million belonging to an employee of Mandera County government amid claims of theft.

Justice Jessie Lesiit allowed the application by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) freezing the accounts for 60 days.

One of the accounts has Sh40.8 million belonging to Abdi Mohamed Ali and another jointly held with his wife, Saadia Sheikh Osman, which contains Sh21.4 million.

The ARA reckons that the cash are proceeds of crime and believed to have been siphoned from the county where Mr Ali works as a director.

“That an analysis of statements of accounts established that the accounts received suspicious huge cash deposits that indicate activities of money laundering,” the ARA investigators told the High Court.

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According to the agency, investigations established that there were massive suspicious cash deposits made from different locations, including Garissa, Mandera and Moyale as well as Eastleigh and Westlands in Nairobi.

The two accounts are at Equity Bank in Mandera.

Documents filed in court stated that on February 20, the ARA received information that the funds could be proceeds of crime.

This was because there were huge cash deposits in Kenya shillings and the funds are suspected to be stolen or fraudulently acquired from the Mandera County government.

The deposits were mainly made in tranches of below Sh1 million to evade the reporting threshold, required by law and the Central Bank of Kenya prudential guidelines for account holders to declare the source of the deposits.

“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,” the agency said in the petition.

The agency told Justice Lesiit that it suspects that the money was deposited by the two or their agents, associates and are from illegitimate sources, designed to conceal their sources.

Through senior State counsel Jennifer Gatiri, the agency said proceeds of crime should be preserved, pending filing and determination of an application, for forfeiture of the money to the government.

She said there was a real danger that the said funds may be withdrawn, spent or could dissipate rendering the intended application for forfeiture and useless.

The court directed the case to be mentioned on May 19.

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