EACC freezes accounts of City Hall employee with Sh600 million

Wilson Kanani

Wilson Nashon Kanani (insert) was banking millions every month in what detectives now argue was funds stolen from Kenya’s capital city.

Photo credit: Pool

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has obtained orders to freeze over Sh600 million in unexplained wealth belonging to a junior City Hall employee who earns Sh55,000 per month.

According to EACC, Mr Nashon Wilson Kanani, a development control officer grade II at the Urban Planning Department, accumulated the unexplained wealth over a five-year period through possible kickbacks and bribery.

EACC claims the wealth amassed between January 1, 2016 and October 31, 2020 is stashed in over 10 banks and his M-pesa accounts.

The rest is in the form of prime land, apartments and high-end vehicles registered under members of his family and companies linked to the family. 

EACC investigations revealed that the monies were channelled through bank accounts in his name and companies associated with him, his spouse and children.

For example, a total of Sh55,000,000 was paid to Willy Walla International Limited, a company associated with him by Parrot Concepts Limited. Another sh23,880,000 was paid to him by Media Max Network Limited.

EACC established that large sums were deposited to the suspect’s accounts over the five years. For example; in October 16, 2016 he received Sh2 million and another Sh1.3million in January 12, 2018 via Willy Walla International Limited.

Millions more were deposited to the accounts of Wilcoreg Limited, Bridge Side Farm and Regineez Enterprises Limited in tranches of between Sh5 million and Sh20 million. 

EACC established through documents provided by the Nairobi City County Government that the payments were from advertising companies that have been trading with the devolved unit.

EACC established that, within the five-year period, the suspect, his wife and the companies linked to them have accumulated assets for which they gave unsatisfactory answers when asked to explain the source.

“Considering his net salary of Sh55,866.75 per month, the frequent inter-account transfers and intermingling of funds, the large and frequent deposits into his bank account and those of companies associated with him, raises reasonable suspicion that the monies could have been obtained through corrupt conduct,” EACC’s notes in its suit papers. 

The commission has since concluded investigations and found that the respondents have unexplained assets amounting to Sh643,213,688.12 comprising landed properties, motor vehicles, cash recovered and cash deposits “some of which are subject of these proceedings and duly preserved while others were dissipated and were not available for preservation”.

“Based on the above findings, it was a finding of the investigation that Mr Kanani engaged in corruption, to wit, tax evasion, abuse of office, and conflict of interest explicitly prohibited as an offence under Section 42(3) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003,” EACC says in its court documents.

The commission filed the lawsuit seeking the recovery or confiscation of the sum of Sh643,213,688.12 suspected to be proceeds of corruption and for forfeiture of the parcels of land “acquired with the proceeds of corrupt conduct”.

The commission, through the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), further established that Mr Kananu was dishonest in declaring his income tax with the taxman during the period of investigation.

“The act of giving false declarations to KRA the true amount of income received raises reasonable suspicion that the income may have been corruptly acquired,” EACC said.

The commission wants the assets acquired through graft by the City Hall employee forfeited to the government.

Mr Kanani is a co-director of a popular club along Lang’ata Road in Nairobi but the pub is not party to the ongoing probe.

According to officials, the suspect was able to explain the source of capital used to establish the facility.

The suspect’s role at the department includes overseeing placement of advertisements on the county’s outdoor billboards.

In July, 2010, Mr Kanani was charged and convicted of soliciting for bribes through the office he currently holds.