Assets Recovery Agency freezes Felesta Njoroge’s Sh102 million


The Assets Recovery Agency has been allowed to freeze $914,967 (about Sh102 million) held in a 21-year-old student’s bank account.

Photo credit: File

The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) has been allowed to freeze $914,967 (about Sh102 million) held in a 21-year-old student’s bank account amid concerns that the money could be proceeds of crime.

The funds were sent to Felesta Nyamathira Njoroge by her Belgian boyfriend in four transactions between August 4 and 6. But the agency says they suspect the cash is part of a money laundering scheme or proceeds of crime.

Yesterday, the money was gazetted as frozen for 90 days as the agency investigates the source.

“The preservation orders be and are hereby issued prohibiting the respondent, her employees, agents, servants or any other persons acting on their behalf from transacting, withdrawing, transferring and/or dealing in any manner howsoever in respect of any profits or benefits derived or accrued from the funds specified,” the order issued by Justice Esther Maina reads.

According to ARA, the student at Nairobi Technical Training Institute said she received the money from Marc De Mesel, her Belgian boyfriend. Documents filed in court showed that the Belgian wired $229,980 on August 4, followed by 231,980 the following day.

On August 6, Mr Mesel wired the money twice, $224,980 and $227,980. The student was invited by the agency on October 18, to shed light on the money but she failed to honour the summons.

Her lawyer, Ndindi & Nadida Advocates, wrote to ARA on October 19 saying the summons were vague and sought a further explanation so that they could advise her on what she was needed for and the documents she was required to table.

“As at the time of swearing this affidavit, neither the respondent nor her legal representative have communicated on their availability to honour the summons and explain the source and purpose of the funds,” ARA said in the application.

Two days later, the law firm indicated that Ms Njoroge was out of the country and they do not know when she will come back.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that the respondent’s bank accounts were used as conduits of money laundering contrary to sections 3,4 and 7 as read together with section 16 of proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act, in an effort to conceal and disguise the nature, source, location and movement of the funds,” ARA stated in the petition.

The agency said they believe that the four accounts were opened solely to receive the funds. When questioned about the intended use, Ms Njoroge allegedly said her boyfriend had indicated that it was a gift and for investing in land projects and safaris.

The Belgian, who is believed to be a cryptocurrency specialist, indicated in the declaration documents that Njoroge was “free to use the money to secure financial security for our future children”.