Bernice Mbugua @BerniceMuhindi
The Assets and Recovery Agency yesterday lost a bid to forfeit a Sh7 million jeep belonging to businessman Ben Gethi’s mother to the State.
Justice Hedwig Ong’udi dismissed the agency’s application, saying it had not proved the money used to buy Charity Gethi’s vehicle was part of the money fraudulently acquired from the National Youth Service.
“The applicant has failed to prove the Jeep was bought from proceeds of crime. I have no choice but to dismiss the application,” she ruled.
The agency had claimed that the vehicle was purchased with part of the Sh791 million NYS loot.
Through the investigating officers, the agency claimed that Josephine Kabura, who is charged with the Sh791 million NYS scam, transferred Sh273 million to John Kago’s account at Family Bank.
She further transferred 108 million to Goodluck 2011 Company, which is also owned by John Kago, who is also charged in the NYS scam. After receiving the said monies, Kago transferred Sh103 million to Ogola and co Advocates and Sh78 million to MM Gitonga & Co Advocates.
Ogola and co Advocates in turn transferred Sh28 million to Charity Gethi’s account in Old Mutual for shares bought in her name.
At the same time, MM Gitonga, who had received the Sh78 million from Kago, transferred Sh77.6 million to Gethi’s mother’s account at Faulu Kenya Limited.
The recovery agency contended that Gethi’s mother redeemed money from Old Mutual to her Standard Bank account, part of which she used to purchase the said motor vehicle.
The judge, however, said at the time the said monies were hitting her account, the money from which the vehicle was bought was not in that account
“It is not disputed that the money used to purchase the Jeep vehicle was from the respondent’s Standard Chartered account. The question then, is was the vehicle a proceed of crime or not?,” posed the judge.
Ong’udi said before any forfeiture order is made, the court must be satisfied that the property sought to be forfeited is a proceed of crime or was to be used to perpetuate a crime, adding that the agency had a duty to prove that the Jeep was procured by money acquired from NYS.