A lawyer linked to a businessman at the centre of the National Youth Service (NYS) corruption case tried to transfer Sh27 million from a bank to buy clothes, a court heard yesterday.
Patrick Ogola, Benson Gethi's lawyer, deposited Sh26.4 million in an I&M bank account and later demanded transfer of the same amount to Hong Kong, China to buy clothes.
The bank declined to transfer the money, prompting the lawyer to move to the High Court, seeking to compel the financial institution to transfer the money.
According to documents filed in court by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA), there are reasonable grounds to believe the cash and the attempted transfer might have been linked to money laundering.
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The Muthoni Kimani-led agency raised the suspicions in its court papers filed before High Court Judge Fred Ochieng.
"The bank declined to transfer and reported the same to the Financial Reporting Centre as a suspicious transaction in line with the prudential guidelines issued by the Central Bank of Kenya on money laundering and the proceeds of crime," the judge was told.
The agency said that the money was withdrawn from three accounts held in Family Bank and passed on to Gethi's point man John Kago.
It would then end in the hands of four law firms named in the court records as Ogola and Majera Company Advocates, Glinis Kigera and Company, M.M Gitonga and Company and Waweru Kihara Company Advocates.
However, Mr Ogola disputed the allegations about the deal being suspicious and said that the money was an installment to purchase a property worth Sh87 million.
"The first two installments of the purchase price were received in cash. The Sh27 million represented the last installment that was to be paid towards the purchase price," he said.
Ogola said his client, by the name Hussein Ali, later offset the transaction using a separate account after I&M gave him a lower dollar exchange rate and directed him to channel the money held at the bank to purchase clothing for him.
On the other hand, the court heard from ARA that the law firms would buy properties, motor vehicles, shares in the stock exchange and investments in various companies such as Faulu Kenya and Old Mutual.