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Mandera County government worker ordered to give up Sh61 million

COAST
By Kamau Muthoni | July 15th 2021
High Court Judge Justice Mumbi Ngugi. [Fidelis Kabunyi, Standard]

A Mandera County government employee has been ordered by the anti-corruption unit to surrender Sh61 million he claims to have made from selling honey.

Justice Mumbi Ngugi, now a Court of Appeal judge, found that Abdi Mohamed Ali's explanation on how he got the money he had banked in two accounts was not believable. She said Abdi's wealth was a proceed of crime and ought to be handed to the State.

The Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) had sued Abdi and his wife, Saadia Sheikh, arguing that they had acquired their wealth illegally.

Abdi is a director of livestock production in the county. He said he made the money through sale of honey and animals.

“The respondents have not been able to demonstrate that they have a legitimate source of funds. Such funds are not therefore not protected under the constitutional guarantee under Article 40. Their forfeiture to the State does not therefore violate the constitutionally guaranteed protection of property,” Justice Ngugi ruled.

According to court documents, the couple have 12 children and an equal number of grandchildren.

ARA lawyer Jenifer Gitiri Abdi argued that Abdi shoulders the cost of schooling 10 children, who are in secondary schools. Shiekh, on the other hand, is contented being a housewife.

Abdi, had told the court that he is diabetic and was also battling cholesterol, which requires him to visit doctors, who help keep him alive. He also runs an unnamed family business, which requires him to pay suppliers and employees.

Despite all these needs, Abdi and Sheikh operate two bank accounts, whose cash they have never touched.

“The said bank accounts received suspicious cash deposits in Kenya shillings and the funds are suspected to be stolen and/or fraudulently acquired from Mandera County by the respondents, their agents or representatives and deceitfully deposited in the said accounts,” Gitiri argued.

ARA detailed how the man deposited the amounts of money in question for years, off the Bank’s radar as majority of his transactions were less one million shillings. It is only in five instances that he deposited more than a million.

The lowest amount of money he deposited was Sh 134,000 while the highest was Sh 2.1 million.

It is these deposits to the accounts that attracted ARA, which demanded that Abdi explain how he made his millions.

ARA traced his transactions from 2014 to February this year. Investigators went through 44 deposits and concluded that they were suspected proceeds of crime.

According to court records, there were days he would walk into a bank three times, others two and stagger others on different days of the month. On July 27, 2018, he deposited same amount of money three times.

The secret to the unused cash in the account, according to Abdi, is it accrued from proceeds of selling honey, cereals, and camels. However, he had no documents, receipts or persons to corroborate his story.

He explained in his statement that he only knew the person who delivered the honey and nothing more.

The agency told the court the money was deposited from different locations such as Garissa, Mandera, Moyale, Eastleigh and Westlands.

“The said bank accounts received suspicious cash deposits in Kenya shillings and the funds are suspected to be stolen and/or fraudulently acquired from Mandera County by the respondents, their agents or representatives, and deceitfully deposited in the said accounts,” she continued.

The agency told the court how the man deposited the money in question for years, with majority of the transactions being less than Sh1 million. It is only in five instances that he deposited more than Sh1 million.

ARA monitored the transactions from 2014 to February this year. Investigators scrutinized 44 deposits and concluded that they were suspected proceeds of crime.

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