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23-year-old woman loses Sh126m to State over money laundering


23-year-old woman loses Sh126m to State over money laundering

Thursday May 25 2023

A 23-year-old Kenyan woman has lost more than Sh126 million in US dollars sent to her by a Belgian boyfriend two years ago after the High Court ruled that they are proceeds of crime.

Ms Felesta Nyamathira Njoroge lost millions after the court agreed with Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) that she should forfeit the money to the state.

The $914,967 was wired to the former Nairobi Technical Institute student by her boyfriend Marc De Mesel, allegedly for upkeep.

“Upon consideration of the evidence and all the materials placed before me and the law, I am satisfied that the funds in those two accounts are liable for forfeiture to the state,” the judge said, adding Ms Njoroge failed to explain the source of the funds.

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Ms Njoroge had opposed the petition arguing that the money was meant for several projects and she has no business explaining to ARA how she met Mr De Mesel.

The woman had claimed that her boyfriend wired the money to her, indicating that she was free to use the funds to secure financial security for their children.

The state agency submitted that Ms Njoroge was a full-time student and the pattern of transaction in the accounts in issue and the activities of one De Mesel depicts money laundering activities.

The Judge dismissed the explanation given by De Mesel saying it only shows that he deals with stocks through a brokerage firm but failed to demonstrate the source of the funds.

“There is obvious money laundering aspect in respect to funds,” the judge said.

Ms Njoroge had also dismissed claims of money laundering saying the application by ARA was speculative and against her economic rights and courts should not be used to assist agencies the agency to interfere with her rights.

“The respondent obtained sweeping and radical orders against me without making any material disclosure as to whether financial due process was not adhered to in the transfer of the funds to me,” she submitted.

Documents filed in court showed that the Belgian wired US D 229,980 on August 4, 2021, followed by 231,980 the following day. On August 6, he wired the money twice $224,980 and $227,980, alarming the state agency.

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