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State freezes assets of nine ‘terror financiers’

By Cyrus Ombati and Joachim Bwana | September 3rd 2020

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i yesterday ordered the immediate freezing of assets attached to nine Kenyans alleged to be financing Al-Shabaab operations.  

The nine had in March this year been granted audience by the police to defend themselves on why they cannot be declared Specified Entities.

They all have pending terror related charges in courts.

The suspects notified then were Hamal Adan Ali, Waleed Ahmed Zein, Sheikh Guyo Gorsa Boru and Mohammed Abdi Ali aka Abu Fidaa. 

Others are Nuseiba Mohammed Haji, Abdimajit Adan Hassan, Mohammed Ali Abdi, Muktar Ibrahim Ali and Mire Abdullahi Elmi. They are the same people that Matiang’i ordered that their accounts be frozen yesterday.

They are businessmen and women based in Eastleigh, Nairobi, but some operate in Mombasa and Mandera, officials said, and have been running M-Pesa shops.

“The enemy is progressively planting operatives among civilians strategically to advance his agenda through recruitment and radicalisation to violent extremism and terrorism,” Matiang’i said in a statement.

“We shall neither surrender into the hands of terrorism nor play into the narrative propounded by terrorists of discrimination along ethnic and religious lines in this war. The only way to deny terrorists the means to threaten our way of life is to choke their facilitation networks,” Matiang’i warned.

Renewed operations

The move comes in the wake of heightened operations in Mombasa and northern Kenya where almost a dozen suspects were held, questioned and released.

Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai had in March given the nine people and three companies based in Eastleigh, Nairobi, a week to defend themselves why they should not be declared specified entities.

A ‘special entity’ is a person or organisation suspected to have committed, attempted to, or prepared to commit a terrorist act. It can also be issued when an entity is believed to have participated in or facilitated the commission of a terrorist act or suspected to be acting on behalf of, or at the direction of, a terrorist organisation.

The law requires that before the IG makes such recommendations, he must afford the affected entities reasonable opportunity not to be considered a terrorist sympathiser.

The three organisations notified are an M-Pesa agent based in Eastleigh Alasland Agency, and Climbing Star, another Mpesa agent selling mobile phones and internet services at General Waruinge Road in Eastleigh.

Officials said the move by Matiang’i was occasioned following failure by the group to convince authorities that they are not linked to the terror activities.

They may, however, apply to the IG requesting for the revocation of the order.

They may also apply to the High Court for a review of the decision within a period of 60 days from the date of the receipt of the decision.

Police have in recent months heightened anti-terror-related operations in the city in efforts to disrupt plans to attack Kenya.

Multi-agency teams have also been working harder to contain threats noticed in the city and other urban areas.

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