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Win for Amadi in 'gold scam' case as judges decline to freeze her account

National
 Former Judiciary Registrar Ann Amadi. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Former Judiciary Registrar Ann Amadi has won round one of an appeal filed by a gold trading firm Bruton Gold Trading LLC.

Court of Appeal Judges Sankale Ole Kantai, Mumbi Ngudi and Mwaniki Gachoka unanimously agreed that they could not order Amadi’s account to be frozen in an alleged Sh102 million gold scam case.

The three-judge-bench said the High Court had already found there was no connection between Amadi and the law firm Amadi and Associates as she had already resigned.

They noted that Bruton had also already admitted that the money was withdrawn immediately after it was wired into African Banking Corporation (ABC) Limited.

“Further, by its own averment, the funds in contention were withdrawn from the accounts immediately or soon after deposit, and so there is nothing for the court to preserve by issuing injunctive orders. We need not reassert the well-worn principle that the Court does not issue orders in vain,” the bench headed by Justice Kantai ruled. 

Bruton had initially managed to secure orders before the High Court to freeze the accounts.

However, Justice Afred Mabeya lifted the orders after finding that there was no evidence to show Amadi was running the law firm or the accounts in question.

He went ahead to strike out an affidavit that was supporting the case and ordered that a fresh one should be filed failure to which the entire case would also be thrown out.

In the case, Bruton claimed that Amadi and Associates dealt with a transaction between British national Demetrios Bradshaw, businessman Daniel Kangara and Liberian national Edward Taylor.

“There is nothing that connects her with the alleged gold fraud case and I find that the orders freezing her accounts were draconian and should have never been issued against her.  There is evidence that she left the law firm in 2014 and left its management to her son,” ruled Justice Mabeya.

The judge noted that the fact that Amadi’s son Brian Ochieng was managing Amadi and Associates Advocates does not mean the former Registrar was involved in its management as the only time she was engaged was in 2020 when she wrote a letter for bank account opening for the firm.

Justice Mabeya ruled that since Amadi’s son is already an adult who can defend himself, he should be left to carry his own cross instead of dragging his mother into a transaction she knew nothing about.

He also ruled that the petitioners failed to establish a link between her and the law firm.

Aggrieved, Bruton moved to the Court of Appeal. The firm argued that the High Court erred in unfreezing the money.

Bradshaw said that Bruton as a gold trading company registered in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was interested in buying gold from Kenya.

He claimed that Bruton directors were introduced by Kangara to Edward Taylor who was also known as Mboronda Seyenkulo Sakor.

Sakor, he said, was alleged to be an officer in an entity called Universal Global Logistics Limited ("UGL") which was believed to be in the gold export business and could export gold from Kenya to Dubai.

Bradshaw submitted that Bruton entered into a transaction with UGL, represented by the Amadi and Associates Advocates, for the export of 1500 kilograms of gold bars allegedly owned by Kangara.

Bruton said it sent a total of US$ 592,970 and a further USD 149,236.48 to the firm account number. However, it claimed that it was convinced to release the funds through misrepresentation and production of false and forged documents.

In response, Amadi argued that she was not a signatory to the bank accounts and could not make any financial transactions.

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