A businesswoman whose account was frozen over suspicion of being used as a conduit for funds stolen in a dams scandal wants the court to allow her access her money.
Shelmith Njeri Mwangi claims she only received money from the Italian company contracted to build the Arror and Kimwarer dams, CMC Di Ravenna, to produce business cards for the firm’s managers and that she had nothing to do with the money allegedly siphoned from the project.
Njeri swore she was shocked when she went to transact at Equity Bank only to be told that her account was not operational as per a court order obtained by the Asset Recovery Agency.
“I was informed that my bank account was frozen due to fraud money from CMC Di Ravenna in relation to construction of Arror and Kimwarer dams. I had no information about the fraud since I only supplied business cards and note pads to the firm’s managers,” said Njeri.
Njeri stated that her company, Fast Service Solution, only deals with printing and design jobs.
She argued that the order freezing her account for six months was unreasonable since it will prevent her from accessing funds from other business transactions that are not proceeds from the Italian firm.
According to the trader, the orders were intended to humiliate and paint her as a beneficiary of corruption “yet she has been doing genuine printing business for many years”.
“Their application to freeze my account was grounded on speculation and misapprehension when all my transactions are readily available for verification. I am just like any other Kenyan who sought a business opportunity and got paid what I deserved,” she swore.
The Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) last month obtained orders freezing the accounts of eight companies they suspect engaged in fraudulent deals with the Italian firm to siphon millions of shillings meant for constructing the two dams.
According to the agency, they had credible information that some funds allocated to build the dams were diverted to certain accounts, which they sought to recover and return to the Exchequer as proceeds of crime.
ARA argued that the six months would enable it to investigate and establish the money flow from the Italian firm to each of the companies, and whether the services paid for were completed.
Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi certified the trader’s application as urgent and scheduled hearing for July 18.