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Court freezes accounts suspected to have Sh 734 million linked to Kimwarer and Arror dams saga

COUNTIES
By Kamau Muthoni | August 9th 2019

A transaction involving a foreign firm linked to the Arror and Kimwarer dam scandal and a local firm has been stopped by the courts.

The Dubai-based company, Azepco General Trading Company Limited, was to receive Sh734 million from a Kenyan properties firm, Stanlib Wealth Amanah Property Limited.

Azepco is claimed to be one of the big players in the Sh21 billion Arror and Kimwarer dam scam.

Yesterday, Milimani Court Magistrate Caroline Nzibe ordered that Stanlib Wealth should not access its accounts at Standard Chartered Bank, Sarit Centre, for 180 days, effectively keeping it from wiring the money to Azepco.

During this time, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) will be probing account opening statements belonging to Stanlib Wealth.

DCI will also scrutinise the firm’s bank statements starting from December 1, 2017 to date, as well as cash deposits and withdrawals

According to police investigator Isaac Ogutu, the monies held in the Kenyan firm’s accounts are proceeds of crime, and are in the process of being laundered.

“On or about July 24, 2019, Stanlib Wealth Amanah Properties account holders made an application to transfer Sh734.5 million to Azepco General Trading Company LLC in Dubai,” said Mr Ogutu.

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The court heard that Azepco had also received 5.8 million Euros (Sh673 million) from CMC Di Ravenna, an Italian firm which was hired to carry out the dams project and which is now at the centre of the scandal

Tip from bank

Ogutu told the court that DCI received a tip off from the bank’s financial reporting centre that Stanlib had asked to transfer the money to Azepco.

“It is desirable that the funds in the subject bank account be preserved until investigations are complete,” said Ogutu.

“It is suspected that the funds held in the account under the name of Stanlib Wealth Amanah Properties Limited domiciled at Standard Chartered Sarit Center are proceeds of crime and are in the process of being laundered.”

Meanwhile the State will line up more than 140 witnesses to prove its case against 28 suspects, including former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and Principal Secretary Kamau Thuge.

Defence lawyers Katwa Kigen and Hillay Sigei told the court that they had received 146 and 142 witness statements respectively.

At the same time, two other defense lawyers Kioko Kilukumi and Phillip Murgor clashed with lead prosecutor Ali Taib over electronic evidenced which was presented to them in DVDs.

Printing row

According to the two lawyers, the DVDs contained 500,000 copies of documents which was a burden to their clients if they were required to print.

The two lawyers wanted the court to order the prosecutor to print hard copies for them, saying that it was cumbersome and unfair for the accused to go through the bundles in softcopy.

“We need to be supplied with hard copies. It is the hard copies which will be produced in court as exhibits. The execution of the documents will be tested,” said Mr Kilukumi.

“We will need to get expert witnesses, examiners to verify whether it is our clients who signed the documents all which is too much. My client has no intention to facilitate his own prosecution.”

Taib in reply said that the State was not bound to provide papers for printing the copies.

The case will be mentioned on September 18.

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