What you need to know:
- Ms Amadi moved to court last week to unblock her bank accounts, arguing that she was condemned unheard, yet she had nothing to do with the gold transaction in question.
- Gold trader Demetrios Bradshaw, a British-passport holder, said in reply that being the registered owner of the law firm, Ms Amadi is the legally registered accounting officer for any acts or omissions.
A Dubai-based firm that has sued Chief Registrar of Judiciary Anne Amadi in a Sh100 million gold scam has said she cannot run away from Amadi and Associates as she is the proprietor of the law firm.
In reply to an application filed by Ms Amadi seeking to unfreeze her personal bank accounts, Bruton Gold Trading LLC says the law firm is still registered in her name and if it has to access the money, it has to be through the proprietor of the law firm.
The company said the law firm does not have a separate legal personality from Ms Amadi.
Ms Amadi moved to court last week to unblock her bank accounts, arguing that she was condemned unheard, yet she had nothing to do with the gold transaction in question.
The case is coming up for hearing of the application to lift the freeze, before Justice Alfred Mabeya on Monday.
In her application, the registrar says she resigned from the firm after joining the Judiciary in 2014, but it remained dormant until her son Brian Ochieng and Mr Andrew Njenga Kiarie took over the management and operations.
Gold trader Demetrios Bradshaw, a British-passport holder, said in reply that being the registered owner of the law firm, Ms Amadi is the legally registered accounting officer for any acts or omissions.
“There is no evidence tendered before the court of an alleged handover of control in line with the amatory requirements of Section 9 and or 15 of the Registration of Business Names Act,” he said in an affidavit.
Mr Bradshaw said the word resignation does not appear in the letter dated January 10, 2014, which was merely a notice to the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) regarding her leave of absence.
He says being a senior member of the Judiciary and an advocate, Ms Amadi should have been aware of the required legal steps to take when an application to a government office is not allowed or rejected.
According to Mr Bradshaw, there is no evidence of any attempt made to procure change of registration for the firm nor an application to transfer the business name to her son and Mr Kiarie.
The trader says the letter dated June 9, 2020 confirmed that she was in full control of Amadi and Associates as it indicates that she had appointed the two lawyers as signatories, dictates how the account shall be run by stating the signing mandate, and signs in her capacity as the registered proprietor, six years after joining the Judiciary.
He pointed out that the bank opening application form for the law firm clearly indicated that the firm has one director/shareholder, and that she was the one who signed on the declaration form as the proprietor and the PIN number used for the law firm and that of Ms Amadi is the same.
“Unless Anne Atieno Amadi can prove that she is not the registered proprietor of Amadi and Associates, any claim made against the firm which cannot be separated from its registered proprietor, lands squarely at her feet, regardless of whichever office she holds in the Republic of Kenya,” he said.
Further, when she applied to open bank accounts for the law firm in 2020, Ms Amadi applied to an authorised user (digital banking) with an open transaction limit and no approver necessary.
“…that the 1st defendant/applicant, admittedly applied for and opened the bank accounts used to defraud the plaintiff/respondent company and even went as far as applying for unfettered online access without an approver and or transaction limit in the said accounts,” he said.
Mr Bradshaw said that only an audit of all bank accounts held by Ms Amadi from November 2021, including those that she is a signatory, can confirm the correct position as to whether she benefitted from the funds.
He maintains that the funds were withdrawn from the bank accounts in cash, with Ms Amadi, Mr Ochieng and Mr Kiarie receiving automatic notifications through SMS.
“That the contents of the letter clearly come from a person in control of a firm not a former proprietor as the 1st defendant/respondent would like the court to believe. Her own words in the impugned letter are ‘as a firm, we would like,” Mr Bradshaw said.
He said if she was not active in the law firm and intent on maintaining the status, she should have transferred the proprietorship of the business name and if possible, direct Mr Ochieng and Mr Kiarie to register their own practice.
Ms Amadi sought the lifting of the freeze order, arguing that the decision has occasioned her financial embarrassment due to failure to meet her financial obligations.
Bruton Gold Trading LLC obtained the orders freezing the law firm’s bank accounts and those of Ms Amadi after claiming to have been defrauded of more than Sh100 million in US dollars in 2021.
The trader said the money was meant for the purchase of gold bars, but the precious metal was never delivered to the buyer in Dubai.
Ms Amadi, alongside her son Brian Ochieng, two other Kenyans and a Liberian citizen have been sued by the Dubai-based company after the gold it purchased was never delivered.
The other defendants in the case are Kikanae Topoti, Daniel Ndegwa Kangara, alias Daniel Muriithi, and Edward Taylor, alias Mboronda Seyenkulo Sakor, a Liberian passport holder.
Mr Ochieng, Mr Kiarie and Mr Topoti are advocates in the law firm, Amadi and Associates, Mr Kangara was representing a company called Universal Gold Logistics Limited (UGL) while Mr Sakor was said to have been the vendor of the gold.
Ms Amadi said there is no proof that she personally benefited from the money and it was not true that she made any proposals to clear the amount in six monthly installments.
“The order of 18th May 2023 is extremely prejudicial to me as the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, as I am unable to even carry on with my daily life, fend for my family and meet my daily needs and may result in me undergoing financial embarrassment due to failure to meet me recurrent financial needs,” she said.