Court orders college student to forfeit Sh108 million to state

Felesta Nyamathira Njoroge and her Belgian boyfriend Marc De Mesel. [Courtesy]

The High Court has ordered a college student to forfeit Sh108 million to the state for being proceeds of crime.

Justice Esther Maina ruled that Felesta Nyamathira Njoroge had not satisfactorily explained the source of the money she received from her Belgian boyfriend Marc De Mesel which leaves no doubt that the amount is tainted money.

"It is obvious that the proceeds are from money laundering and as a result, the court declares that the money is proceeds of crime to be forfeited to the state," ruled Maina.

She allowed the Asset Recovery Agency to seize the amounts at Ms Njoroge's account at Co-Operative Bank with Sh103 million and the second account at Stanbic Bank with Sh5 million.

ARA had in its suit claimed that the 22-year-old who was a student at Nairobi Technical Training Institute was engaging in money laundering after receiving the huge amount from De Mesel between August 4 and August 6, 2021.

The Belgian, who is believed to be a cryptocurrency specialist, indicated in the declaration documents that Ms Njoroge was "free to use the money to secure financial security for our future children" and that she could use the money on anything she wished to do.

ARA said that Ms Njoroge indicated to the bank that she would use the money to travel and buy parcels of land.

Ms Njoroge in her defence accused the agency of witch hunt and invasion of her privacy, stating that she is an adult with constitutional rights to do business and earn such huge amounts of money.

According to her, she had the capacity to engage in business and develop relationships to make money, and ARA painted her in bad light as a person engaged in economic crimes when she could explain the source of her funds.

She added that the agency is trying to connect her with crimes she has not committed when she is a law-abiding college student who genuinely acquired the money through her business and relationship with De Mesel.