State freezes bank accounts, vehicles of human trafficker


A State agency has been allowed to seize five vehicles suspected to be used by a criminal network involved in the trafficking of Ethiopians to countries such as Tanzania and South Africa.

Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) says the five vehicles were acquired using funds derived from the illegitimate activities of human trafficking. This is after one of the suspects, Peter Mugi Kamau, was arrested in October last year harbouring 22 Ethiopians.

Mr Kamau was subsequently charged before a Kiambu court as the agency commenced investigations to recover funds and assets acquired from the illegal trade of trafficking in persons.

“Investigations established that the respondent (Kamau) devised a complex criminal network of deceiving, enticing, trafficking, transporting and harbouring vulnerable persons through the international organised criminal network for purposes of exploiting and obtaining gain or profits from the victims of human trafficking,” the ARA said in the petition.

The vehicles are four Toyotas and a Nissan Caravan.

Justice James Wakiaga directed Mr Kamau to surrender the original logbooks of the vehicles and for the Director-General of the National Transport and Safety Authority to register caveats on the vehicles.

The court also ordered a freeze of about Sh400,000 held in three accounts belonging to the suspect, which is believed to be proceeds of the illegal trade.

“The agency received information that the respondent acquired funds and assets/properties using the proceeds obtained from the illegal trafficking in persons suspected to be proceeds of crime contrary,” ARA submitted.

Mr Kamau was arrested on October 7 last year and a search conducted at a house in Umoja estate Mwihoko in Githurai Kimbo, found 22 Ethiopians who were to be ferried to various destinations.

The agency said it believes the 22 Ethiopian national are victims of trafficking in persons and were being held illegally by Mr Kamau. During the arrest, one of the vehicles was impounded and further probe revealed that some of the vehicles are registered to one of the kingpins being followed.

A further analysis into one of the accounts belonging to Mr Kamau revealed that he was making suspicious deposits and withdrawals, monies believed to have been acquired from or used to conduct the illegal trade of human trafficking.

“Investigations further established that the bank accounts were used as conduits of laundering proceeds of crime from the illegal trafficking in persons by the respondent,” the court heard.