Asset Recovery Agency seeks to seize Sh49m wired to woman


Felesta Njoroge (right), one of the women dealing with Belgian businessman Marc De Mesel [Courtesy]

The mystery surrounding a Belgian businessman who gifted his girlfriends millions of shillings continued after a State agency moved to court to have the third woman forfeit her share of the money.

The Asset Recovery Agency has filed a suit at the High Court seeking to compel Ms Jane Wangui Kago to forfeit Sh49 million she received from Mr Marc De Mesel. Ms Wangui had said the money was a gift to fund her travel for a holiday in Portugal and expand her clothes and salon businesses. ARA claimed that Ms Wangui is among five people who received more than Sh650 million from the Belgian man in suspicious circumstances.

“We have established that she is part of an international money laundering syndicate in which Marc De Mesel is the king pin. They have been disguising the source of funds to conceal the fact that they are proceeds of crime, which are liable for forfeiture to the State,” said the ARA.

Ms Wangui is the elder sister of the Belgian’s first girlfriend, Ms Tebby Wambuku Kago, who received Sh108 million. The money was frozen by the court on suspicion of being proceeds of crime. The agency is also seeking to have Sh107 million that Mr Mesel gifted his second girlfriend, Ms Felista Nyamathira Njoroge, forfeited to the State.

ARA investigator Mr Fredrick Musyoki in his affidavit swore that Ms Wangui received the money from Mr Mesel in two tranches of Sh3.1 million and Sh45.6 million (355,990 Euros) that was transferred to her Equity Bank accounts.

The investigator said they suspect Mr Mesel is the mastermind of an international criminal syndicate, and is using the money to lure young Kenyan girls into the racket.

“We have established that between February 2020 and August 2021, Mr Mesel transferred funds to five individuals in Kenya, including Ms Wangui, with the total amount approximated to be Sh650.9 million,” said Mr Musyoki. Mr Musyoki said the Belgian promises the women, who are aged between 19-26 years, that he will marry them.

The agency said that when they summoned Ms Wangui to explain how she met the Belgian and the circumstances under which he sent her the money, she said Mr Mesel had been dating her sister after they met at Pirates Beach in Mombasa before moving in as a couple in 2018.

She told investigators that the businessman had also given her Sh20 million to build a house for their mother in Thogoto, Kiambu County.

But ARA claims that the women are “beneficiaries of dirty money from foreign jurisdiction whose source has no legitimate explanation and which should be forfeited to the State.”