The businesswoman at the centre of the disputed Sh17 billion diesel resurfaced yesterday, claiming to have been kidnapped and mistreated, as fresh details emerged on her businesses.
Several documents seen by the Nation link Ann Njeri Njoroge to various businesses and dealings in Kenya, Uganda, Dubai, Russia and Israel, raising more questions about who the self-proclaimed tycoon is.
In Kenya, Ms Njeri is the sole owner of Anns Import and Export Enterprises Ltd, holding the only share in the company.
Last Thursday, she claimed that her company has generated revenue that many a blue chip firm would only dream of, dealing in various commodities across the globe.
Despite being sold to detectives and courts as a massive moneymaker, Anns Import and Export Enterprises has a tiny digital footprint. The company has no website or social media page, raising questions on who its clients are as some of the commodities such as curios and handicrafts usually require hefty marketing to beat competitors.
Documents from the Business Registration Service (BRS) show that the company was incorporated on October 30, 2009.
The registration documents further state that Anns Import and Export Enterprises has a physical office within Karen shopping centre. However, the Nation team did not find any of its offices in several buildings within the area.
In her statement to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) last Thursday, Ms Njeri claimed that the company has been doing billion-shilling business across the globe, including in the petroleum industry.
The postal address Ms Njeri listed as hers in the statement is also used by Mixcom Solutions Ltd, a telecommunications solutions provider. The BRS portal could not issue Mixcom’s ownership records as the firm is yet to submit its full list of shareholders and directors.
But Mixcom’s registration number indicates that it was incorporated in 2010. Online directories show that it has offices in Cargen House, along Nkurumah Lane, and Embassy House along Harambee Avenue in the city centre.
But much like Anns Import and Export Enterprises, our team did not find Mixcom offices in either of the two buildings. Several tenants, security and administration personnel that we spoke to have not heard of either Mixcom or Anns Import and Export Enterprises.
In the same statement, Ms Njeri claims to have a long-standing business relationship with a Russian refinery identified as LLC Alpha-AAA YTBE)(AEHO-MOSCO Russia. Our team did not find any record of the refinery online.
The Russian deal, Ms Njeri claimed, allows her to access virtually any amount of petroleum from the refinery on order. The refinery allegedly confirmed that she owns the Sh17 billion cargo through an individual identified as Zohar Kushnir.
Mr Kushnir is an Israeli businessman who owns Tel-Aviv firm LBK Trading Ltd. On his LinkedIn profile, he states that he deals in petroleum and cannabis.
In Uganda, Ms Njeri has also registered a firm called Anns Import and Export Enterprises Ltd. There is no information in open data sources on what the company does.
Accompanied by her lawyers Cliff Ombeta and David Chumo, the businesswoman entered the courtroom and sat calmly. However, after about 45 minutes, they left upon realising that their case was not on the court’s cause list.
In an interview, Ms Njeri claimed to have been kidnapped by people she suspected were police officers. She alleged that after recording a statement at the Directorate f Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters, she was instructed to go to another office to write a second statement.
“When I arrived there, I discovered it was not an office. I encountered two individuals who asked me to bring my medication with me,” she said.
She inquired about the connection between her medication and the statements, but was informed that they were going on a trip to an undisclosed location. She was subsequently ordered to surrender her phone and disclose her passwords
“I asked them why they were isolating me from my lawyers, but they replied that it was not their concern,,” she recalled. She was then swiftly ushered into a waiting vehicle. By then, darkness had already descended. The vehicle then sped off towards Kiambu.
“I persistently asked them where they were taking me, but they kept reassuring me that everything was fine. I pleaded with them not to harm me, emphasising that I had a family depending on me and that I had not stolen from anyone, but had earned my living through hard work,” she recounted.
Nevertheless, the masked individuals urged her to calm down, assuring her that nothing bad would happen to her.
“I reminded the officers that they too have families waiting for them at home, so they should spare my life,” she stated.
When the vehicle stopped, the officers instructed her to use her clothes as a blindfold. They then escorted her into a building.
“Inside, a mattress was placed on the floor where I was instructed to sit. I was then chained. They demanded the truth about the Sh17 billion oil,” she said, adding that the people who identified as officers cautioned her against falsehoods, warning that it could cost her her life.
“They said I would never see my children again if I dared to provide false information. I assured them that my statement at the DCI was truthful and I would stand by it,” she said.
The officers then left, telling her that she should be ready to tell them her final decision when they return the following day.
“They asked me to choose between staying there forever or facing death,” she recounted. She said that the team that took her to the house departed, leaving her with other masked people.
“All I could see were their eyes. I could not even see their hands. I was anxious about what would happen next,” she said.
During stay in the house, Ms Njeri said, being allowed to relieve herself was a privilege.
“During this time, I prayed to God, asking for protection and to spare my life. I implored God to save me. I have not committed a crime, I simply imported diesel oil to earn a living,” she said
She recounted urgently knocking on the room’s door, but received no response.
“Even if you knock on that door, no one will hear you. However, there is a CCTV camera in that house. They can see you, but they will not open the door to respond to your call if you knock,” she said, adding that she was forced to urinate on herself after being denied access to a washroom.
“After I was done, I returned to the mattress and sat. In the morning, one of the officers came and asked me whether I wanted to relieve myself.”
She said that for the four days, she could not tell what time it was because the room was always dark, except at night when the lights would be switched on.
On Sunday morning, Ms Njeri said the people who identified as officers came and asked her to tell the truth or risk being killed.
“I told them that the truth is that the oil is mine and I imported it for sale. I told them I had all the documents pertaining to the consignment,” she recalled.
She was then told that she should disown the cargo, withdraw her court case and flee the country immediately she was set free. They then left and returned later, telling her that she was going to be free as she had committed no offense.
“They said the consignment is mine and that they cannot kill a woman like me because it is not worth it. I was blindfolded, bundled into a vehicle, and driven to Embakasi where I was dumped.”
She then connected with her lawyer and took a plane to Mombasa.
During the four days, she said she received three meals daily, but initially hesitated to eat, fearing potential poisoning. She often opted for strong coffee to stay awake, fearing sleep could be fatal.
“The consignment is mine, I imported it from Europe,” she said. But when asked where she imported the oil from, she did not specify.
Mr Ombeta and Mr Chumo have insisted that the case will not be withdrawn and that they will file further documents.
The businesswoman has denied getting into any agreement with Galana Energies.