Sh29m car in money laundering probe

The Bentley Bentayaga Car was reportedly imported by Jean-Paul Tshikangu Musangu. [File, Standard]

The state has flagged a luxury car worth Sh29 million imported by a Congolese businessman suspected to be involved in money laundering.

The Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) in a suit filed at the High Court said the Bentley Bentayaga car imported by Jean-Paul Tshikangu Musangu was acquired using illegal money.

“Investigations have established that Mr Musangu, his company Groupe Elykia Limited and his partner Venan Mabiala, executed a complex scheme of money laundering,” said ARA.

The agency’s lawyer Mohammed Adow asked the court to declare the vehicle is a proceed of crime and order the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to have the vehicle registered under the ARA name.

According to Mr Adow, they flagged the vehicle while it was at the Mombasa Port awaiting registration.

“There is evidence that the motor vehicle held by the businessman is a direct benefit of crime and money laundering and unless it is forfeited to the government, they will continue to enjoy ill-gotten wealth,” said Mr Adow.

This is the second suit the agency has filed against the Congolese businessman and his partner over claims of money laundering.

In the first suit filed in April, ARA sought to recover Sh290 million from the two Congolese businessmen arguing that they cannot explain the sources of their wealth.

ARA investigator Fredrick Musyoki said they received intelligence reports on December 3, 2021, about complex money laundering schemes and the acquisition of proceeds of crime committed by the two traders.

He opened an inquiry file and obtained search warrants into their bank accounts where he discovered huge deposits had been made from foreign jurisdictions without the source of the funds being revealed.

“An analysis of the bank statement of their company Groupe Elykia Limited established that it had USD1,747,105 (Sh199,082,614) from suspicious funds in a complex scheme of money laundering,” said Mr Musyoki.

The investigator said when they summoned the traders to explain the source of their funds, they indicated that they were engaged in timber exportation but that there was no evidence to prove it.

He said Mr Musangu and Mabiala are using their company as a conduit of deceit and money laundering under the pretense they are supplying wood from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

According to the investigator, the businessmen have no records to show they have been paying taxes on their timber exportation business.