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Counties

Mandera trader in money laundering suit fails to unfreeze account

The High Court has dismissed a plea by a
The High Court has dismissed a plea by a Mandera businessman seeking to unfreeze his bank accounts holding Sh43.5 million saying he failed to show how his family was suffering. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The High Court has dismissed a plea by a Mandera businessman seeking to unfreeze his bank accounts holding Sh43.5 million saying he failed to show how his family was suffering.

Justice John Onyiego said despite Ali Abdi Ibrahim’s argument that accessing the money was crucial to sustain his family and businesses, the same was subject to litigation, which if proved can be forfeited to the government.

The judge said it would defeat the very purpose of preservation orders if the court were to release the money.

Mr Ibrahim wanted the court to allow him to partially access his accounts, saying the freeze order had subjected his family to hardship and financial embarrassment because his businesses had stalled

He also said the orders were obtained through falsehood because there was no evidence linking him to illegal activities. He said the contracts he secured with the Mandera county government were lawful and he was doing legitimate business.

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The accounts were frozen in April when Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) flagged them saying they suspected that Mr Ibrahim was laundering money.

Two of his accounts at Equity Bank, Mandera branch, received Sh124,750,000 from the various companies under investigations. The funds were later withdrawn or transferred to other accounts.

Between 2014 and 2020, he allegedly made suspicious cash withdrawals and transfers in split transactions to evade the reporting threshold.

“The funds are suspected to be stolen and or fraudulently acquired from Mandera County government,” reads an affidavit of Mr Fredrick Musyoki, an investigator.

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