Courts orders Asset Agency to keep Sh227 million airport cash
The High Court has directed the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) to keep Sh227 million recovered from a man at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) pending determination of a suit.
The order was issued by Lady Justice Esther Maina.
It affects the United States Dollars 2 million recovered from one Andrew Kipkemboi who was nabbed by sleuths in Nairobi as he arrived from Bujumbura.
The cash was intercepted at the cargo shipping point as it was reportedly in the process of being reshipped to London.
“An order of preservation and seizure of 2 million US Dollars found in possession of Brinks Global Service Kenya and Brinks Keya Limited be deposited in the Assets Recovery Agency preservation USD Account held at Kenya Commercial Bank. The order shall remain in force for a period of 90 days,” Justice Maina ruled.
While seeking preservation orders, ARA told Justice Maina it suspects the funds intercepted by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Customs Officers may be a direct or indirect benefit, or proceeds of crime obtained from a complex money laundering.
A state counsel Adow Mohamed informed the court that on February 15 Customs and Border Control officers while undertaking the usual clearance procedure at JKIA noted an export entry. The entry had been lodged to export currency amounting to 2 million US dollars from Kenya to the United Kingdom.
The consignor was indicated as Brinks Kenya Limited while the consignee was Brinks Global Services UK but declared as exiting Kenya.
The Agency adds that the funds originated from Bujumbura, Burundi destined to Kenya but was intercepted being re-shipped to the United Kingdom without declaration.
This raised reasonable suspicion of money laundering.
“We established that the respondents, while attempting to send the funds to London, UK, indicated that the origin of the funds in is Kenya but concealed its origin which was Bujumbura, Burundi,” said the Agency.
In an affidavit, Fredrick Musyoki, an officer attached to the Agency said that on Tuesday last week together with his co-investigators Isaac Naikatare and Daniel Leyian, recorded a statement from Kipkemboi, an agent of Brinks Global Service-Kenya and Brinks Kenya Limited.
Those two companies have been listed as respondents in the case.
“Investigations established that agent of the two firms, one Andrew Kipkemboi declared the said cash on arrival from Bujumbura as its destination Kenya and left with the same through the passenger arrival terminal,” the officer informed the court.
Musyoki who tabled in court the statement recorded by Kipkemboi indicates that he (Kipkemboi) was in 2014, approached by a person known to him by the name Gikonyo Mwangi.
Mwangi asked him if he would join his company by the name Brinks Global Services.
Kipkemboi accepted the job offer at Brinks Global services where he got employed as the branch administrator.
He said he has also made trips to Burundi in Bujumbura on five occasions going to collect banknotes all amounting to 2 million dollars per trip.
Kipkemboi further states that he made four trips to Bujumbura in 2021 in the months of January, February, October, and December.
The last trip he did to Bujumbura was on February 15, 2022, where he collected banknotes, as usual, amounting to 2 million dollars, and came with it to Kenya.
The case will be heard on a date to be fixed by the registry.