Jail risk for use of frozen Sh5.6bn linked to top politician, Nigerians


Frozen money concept. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Individuals and banks that transact with Sh5.6 billion frozen early this month linked to two Nigerians and a powerful politician risk multimillion fines.

The money in six bank accounts frozen early this month is suspected to be part of a money laundering scheme, according to the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA).

The High Court froze the billions in two local banks after the ARA applied to block the transfer or withdrawal, pending the filing of a petition to have the money forfeited to the government.

“Take notice that if you, the above-named respondents or your servants/agents disobey this order, you will be cited for contempt of court and shall be liable to imprisonment for a period of not more than six months,” said Alice Mate, the Director of ARA in a gazette notice.

The Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act also warns that any person who intentionally refuses or fails to comply with a court order commits an offence.

Corporate likes banks are liable to a fine not exceeding Sh5 million or the value of the property involved in the offence, whichever is the higher.

Two Nigerians suspected to enjoy the backing of a powerful Kenyan politician and two Kenyans have been linked to the Sh5.6 billion.

The money was wired into the country from multiple countries, including Nigeria, to three companies identified as OIT Africa Ltd, Avalon Offshore Logistics Ltd, and RemX Capital Ltd.

Documents filed in court by the agency show that there are four directors of the firms—the two Nigerians and two Kenyans— all of whom allegedly shrugged off repeated summons to explain the source of the billions.

A search at the registrar of companies revealed that Avalon Offshore is owned by Nigerians Jeffrey Nnaoma Michaels and Uduma Okoro Christopher Kalu.

The company was registered in November 2020 and has its address in Westlands. The politicians cannot be named for legal reasons.

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