The sum of Sh5.6 billion ($48.6 million) is currently frozen in some Kenyan banks —including Equity Bank and UBA Kenya Ltd —after being flagged by Kenya’s Assets Recovery Agency.
According to reliable reports by Kenyan media, the millions were allegedly laundered by two Kenyans and two Nigerians who are believed to have been used as fronts by some powerful Kenyan politicians.
The Assets Recovery Agency got wind of the information after the funds were transferred from multiple offshore accounts (including Nigeria) into the accounts of these three Kenyan companies —Remix Capital Ltd, OIT Africa Ltd, and Avalon Offshore Logistics Ltd.
“The agency received information on a suspected case of money laundering schemes and acquisition of proceeds of crime involving multiple money transactions conducted through the bank accounts of the Respondents in US dollars and Kenya shillings mainly from foreign jurisdiction whose source has no legitimate explanation…
The pattern of transaction in the accounts in issue and the activities of Respondents depict money laundering activities and this court ought to issue the orders sought,” said a part of the petition by the Assets Recovery Agency which was quoted by Business Daily.
Business Insider Africa understands that while investigations into the alleged money laundering lasted, the two Nigerians and two Kenyans who are directors of the above-mentioned firms were repeatedly invited to explain the sources of the money.
But they declined to honor these invitations.
Consequently, the agency obtained a court order to freeze the accounts in which the millions were deposited.
The six accounts will remain frozen until the agency’s petition to have the money forfeited to the Kenyan Government is determined.
In the meantime, Equity Bank and UBA Kenya could face penalties from the Central Bank of Kenya for facilitating the ‘illegal’ transactions.
This is because Kenya’s anti-money laundering laws require banks to report suspicious transactions to the appropriate authorities.