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September 20, 2018

State asks court to freeze Fryda lawyer’s accounts

Police officers during the takeover of St Mary's Mission hospital in Gilgil on Friday, January 19, 2018. /BEN NDONGA
Police officers during the takeover of St Mary's Mission hospital in Gilgil on Friday, January 19, 2018. /BEN NDONGA

The Assets Recovery Agency is seeking orders to freeze bank accounts of a city lawyer  mentioned in the St Mary’s Mission Hospital land dispute.

The agency, through its lawyer Peter Ngumi, yesterday filed an application before Nairobi chief magistrate’s court.

The ARA said the court should freeze the accounts of lawyer Esther Mwangi for 60 days. She is representing Charles Fryda in the ownership dispute. The feud involves St Mary’s Hospital and attendant properties ownership also claimed by the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi. The agency says the freeze will aid investigations over money laundering involving Sh153 million in Prime Bank.

The ARA says the funds were fraudulently siphoned from St Mary’s Hospital and transferred to Mwangi’s accounts.

“The agency is seeking to ... investigate ... whether the funds are proceeds of crime,” Ngumi said. 

The lawyer added that the money was to be transferred to banks in the US. In the July 5 application, Ngumi said  the ARA received information that some accounts received funds suspected to be proceeds of crime.

The agency wants the court to order that any other amount subsequently deposited in the accounts be preserved until the investigations are completed.

But Gathoni, through lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi, opposed the application, saying the order sought is an abuse of the court process as they have not tabled enough evidence to warrant freezing of the accounts. Ahmednasir in his further reply urged has the court to dismiss the application.

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