Just like student Felista Njoroge, her friend also found with Sh102m in bank account

The Assets Recovery agency (ARA) suspects that the funds were acquired illegally. [File, Standard]

The anti-corruption court has ordered that the bank account of Tebby Wambuku Kago, a friend of Felista Njoroge, be frozen.

The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) told the court that Kago’s account at Equity Bank had Sh102.8m ($909,900) in it.

ARA suspects that Kago obtained the money through illegal means.

At the same time, the court ordered that a CFC Stanbic Bank account belonging to Kago’s friend, Felista Njoroge, which had Sh5m in it, also be frozen.

Justice Esther Maina was told that Kago received the Sh102.8m on August 10, 2021, and an additional Sh37m in early November 2021.

However, when ARA accessed Kago’s account, it was discovered that out of the total Sh139.8m, her Equity account had only Sh102.8m.

Records indicate that the money was wired into Kago’s account by Felista Njoroge’s Belgian boyfriend, Marc De Mesel, a cryptocurrency expert.

Unlike Felista, who was introduced in court as a 21-year-old student of Nairobi Technical Training Institute (NTTI), Kago’s age or occupation wasn’t given.

The only hint at her occupation was “self-employed businesswoman” as per court documents.

On November 20, the Anti-Corruption Court ordered that the bank account of college student Felista Njoroge, 21, be frozen for 90 days to allow the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) to establish the source of Sh102.5m in it.

ARA suspects that the millions are proceeds of money laundering, and had, consequently, applied to have Njoroge’s account frozen.

Njoroge, on the other hand, said she got the money from her Belgian boyfriend, Marc De Mesel.

Justice Esther Maina ordered that the money, which was banked at Co-operative Bank, be frozen for 90 days to allow ARA establish its source.

“An order is hereby issued prohibiting the respondent (Njoroge), her employees, agents, servants or any other persons acting on their behalf from transacting, withdrawing, transferring, and, or dealing in any manner in respect of any profits or benefits derived or accrued from the funds,” the judge directed.

The Sh102.5m in Njoroge’s Co-operative Bank account were deposited in four transactions, between August 4 and August 6, 2021.

The court heard that the sender of the funds, Marc De Mesel, deposited $914,920 (Sh102.5m) into the student’s account, which was opened in early August.

Money transfer documents indicated that the funds were a “gift” to Njoroge, who is said to be in a romantic relationship with Mesel.

The Belgian, who is believed to be a cryptocurrency specialist, indicated in the declaration documents that Njoroge was “free to use the money to secure financial security for our future children”.

According to the Belgian, his girlfriend could use the money on “anything she wished to do”.

ARA said Njoroge indicated to the bank that she’d use the money to travel and buy parcels of land.

The agency said it had asked Njoroge to shed light on the source of the money, but the student sent her lawyers, Ndindi and Nadida Advocates.

The law firm, according to ARA, asked for the scope of Njoroge’s investigation.

The agency said Ndindi and Nadida Advocates would write a subsequent letter stating that Njoroge had flown out of the country, and that they “weren’t sure when she’ll return to Kenya”.

“At the time of swearing the affidavit, neither the respondent nor her legal representative have communicated on their availability to honour the summons and explain the source and purpose of the funds,” ARA said in court.

The agency wants the court to compel the student to forfeit the money, arguing that the Sh102.5m are proceeds of crime, allegations that Njoroge has vehemently denied, filing a counter-application seeking to have her account unfrozen.