The High Court has blocked a Nairobi businessman from withdrawing more than Sh53 million in US dollars deposited in his bank accounts and from selling two high-end vehicles suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Magistrate Hedwig Ong'udi barred Anthony Kepha Odiero from dealing with the money held at the National Bank of Kenya pending the determination of an application filed by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA).
"The application is certified as urgent and an interim order is made restraining the respondent, his employees or agents from making any transaction, withdrawal or dealing in any manner whatsoever," the judge said.
The money in the account is $368,185 (about Sh53.3 million) held at NBK, two motor vehicles - a Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz.
The court ordered the businessman to surrender the log books of the two high-end vehicles to the agency.
Mr Odiero was also ordered to surrender the two vehicles to the agency within seven days and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) was asked to place a caveat on the vehicles.
The case will come up for further instructions on 22 November and the caveat will remain in place for 90 days.
The agency said it suspected the vehicles and money were proceeds of crime or intended to be used in the commission of a crime.
Documents filed in court show the agency went to court in June and was allowed to examine the bank accounts. The agency said it found that Mr Odiero was receiving large sums of cash deposits, an indicator of money laundering activity.
"This preliminary investigation has revealed that the defendant has been conducting suspicious transactions, which are mainly cash deposits and withdrawals," the agency said.
The court was told that the businessman made deposits in clusters ranging from $3,000 to $100,000. Some of the funds were used to purchase motor vehicles.
The ARA said that between 2020 and 2023, Mr Odiero deposited $596,500 into the bank account, mostly from a company identified as Straight Business Agency.
According to the ARA, Mr Odiero deposited or received at least Sh1 million, which the ARA said were suspicious or unexplained.
The agency approached the court, saying the businessman could transfer the money and the vehicles if the court did not grant the orders sought.
"That it is in the interest of justice that the orders sought herein be granted as there is an imminent danger that the funds and motor vehicles sought to be produced may dissipate," the agency said.