A judge has blocked two companies and two directors — Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko's co-accused in a graft case — from accessing two bank accounts containing Sh8.4 million.
Anti-Corruption judge Mumbi Ngugi also ordered them on Tuesday to immediately surrender nine vehicles to the Assets Recovery Agency. Judge Ngugi issued temporary orders to preserve Sh1.5 million held at an account in Equity bank and Sh6.9 million held at Sidian bank run by Hardi Enterprises Limited and Toddy Civil Engineering Company, respectively. The two directors are Anthony Nganga Mwaura and Rose Njeri Nganga.
They are Sonko's co-accused in the Sh357 million graft case involving garbage collection tenders and conduits to siphon Niarobi's public funds.
Sonko and the others have pleaded not guilty. Sonko's accounts too have been frozen, except for Sh20 million.
The Assets Recovery Agency says the company's funds were fraudulently obtained from the Nairobi city-county government and are the proceeds of crime. The judge further directed that Mwaura should not transfer or deal with the nine vehicles and hand over the original logbooks to the Assets Recovery Agency at once.
The director general of the National Transport and Safety Authority too has been ordered to register a caveat against the records of each of the nine vehicles. The vehicles are three Toyota Hilux, one Toyoto Vanguard, one Toyota Land Cruiser, one Mercedes-Benz, one Nissan Qashqai, a Lexus and a Nissan Navara. Her orders arose out of an application made by the Assets Recovery Agency through lawyer Stephen Githinji.
In its application, the agency said that its investigations into money laundering of the proceeds of crime have established that the respondents (the two companies and the two owners) are beneficiaries and/or have acquired assets obtained from proceeds of crime.
The agency initially obtained search and seizure warrants but same was vacated on January 21 this year.
The court was told there are no orders in place preserving the assets in question and there is imminent danger of disposal and transfer.
“It is in the interest of justice that preservation orders do issue prohibiting the Respondent and/or their agents or representatives from dealing in any manner with the aforementioned assets,” the agency said.
Bank statement analysis of the two companies revealed several suspicious transactions designed to conceal, disguises and hide the nature, source, movement and disposition of the funds fraudulently [obtained] from the city-county Government of Nairobi.
For example, on November 22, 2018, Hardi Enterprises Limited received suspicious payments from the Nairobi Government of Sh102,414,130 split into five tranches.
On the same date, Hardi Enterprises Limited transferred Sh2 million from the account to Toddy Civil Engineering Company Limited. On November 23, 2018, Hardi Enterprises Limited transferred Sh10 million to Toddy Civil Engineering Company Limited, among many others.
This article was originally published on The Star.