High Court freezes Sh63m of payments firm in proceeds of crime probe 


The High Court has frozen more than Sh63 million belonging to Virtual Financials International Ltd. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

The High Court has frozen more than Sh63 million belonging to a payment solution firm over claims that the funds in the two accounts are linked to proceeds of crime.

Justice Nixon Sifuna allowed the application by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) to preserve the money belonging to Virtual Financials International Ltd, pending the agency’s petition for forfeiture to the government.

The agency informed the court that they were investigating the activities of the firm and established that funds were proceeds of illegitimate activities and should be preserved because the owners might withdraw or transfer the money before the case is concluded.

“That a preservation order be and is hereby granted prohibiting the respondent as well as its agents and or representatives from transacting, withdrawing, transferring, using or dealing in any way with the funds in the following bank accounts,” the judge said.

The money is being held in two bank accounts at Equity Bank- one account holds $16,661 while the other holds Sh60.7 million.

The court ordered the money be preserved for 90 days and directed the matter be mentioned on January 3.
The agency told the court it was investigating the source and purpose of the funds after receiving information that the two bank accounts were holding funds suspected to be proceeds of criminal activities.

“That my investigations established that the major deposits were made from suspicious sources and subsequently spent in various suspicious activities by agents of the firm,” the investigating officer Isaac Nakitare said.

The officer informed the court that there are no orders preserving the funds and the agency was fearful the directors of the firm or its agents might transfer or withdraw the money.

“That the financial investigations conducted by the Agency revealed complex fraud and money laundering schemes conducted by the respondent, its directors and associates rendering the above funds proceeds of crime liable for preservation and forfeiture,” the agency submitted.

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