Banking fraud investigators have claimed in court that Nairobi law firm Kaplan & Stratton Advocates may have received part of the stolen Sh791 million National Youth Service (NYS) money in cash from suspects other than Mayfox Mining Company.
The Banking Fraud Investigation Unit (BFIU) says in court filings that it has encountered difficulties in ascertaining just how much of the NYS funds Kaplan & Stratton handled, as detectives believe the law firm may have received some of the loot in cash and from other suspects being probed.
Kaplan & Stratton on Monday moved to the High Court and obtained an order barring the BFIU from freezing its accounts pending completion of the probe.
The BFIU last Friday obtained a freeze order on Kaplan & Stratton’s client account at Barclays Bank but the law firm swiftly thwarted the move. The firm has sued the BFIU and the Chief Magistrate’s Court that issued the freeze order.
“The BFIU believes that Kaplan & Stratton might have received the funds from the NYS in other means such as cash deposits or from other suspects that made it difficult to determine the amount received by Kaplan & Stratton,” says Jeremiah Sautet, an investigator with the BFIU, in an affidavit.
Kaplan & Stratton has denied that the Sh3.077 million it received from Mayfox is part of funds looted from the NYS.
The BFIU says Mayfox received Sh10.8 million from one of the prime suspects in the NYS theft, whom it has declined to name to avoid interfering with the probe.
The law firm says Mayfox sent it the amount to pay for stamp duty and other charges for the increase of the mining firm’s nominal capital.
BFIU investigators insist that allowing Kaplan & Stratton access to the client account may interfere with its plan to recover the Sh791 million stolen from the NYS.
“On March 19, 2015 Kaplan & Stratton received Sh3.077 million from its client Mayfox Mining being the required amount for stamp duty and other costs related to the increase of the company’s entire nominal capital. It is therefore not admitted that the said amount was part of the alleged money stolen from the NYS,” Kaplan & Stratton holds.