CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

Judge freezes sale of Mlolongo property acquired using illicit cash

The four-storey building is said to have been obtained from proceeds of human trafficking

In Summary
  • Lady Justice Maina has prohibited Peter Kamau and Consolota Musa from mortgaging the house.
  • The court issued the orders after the Assets Recovery Agency submitted that the duo’s assets were gained through the illegitimate trafficking in persons.
Milimani law courts
Milimani law courts
Image: FILE

A judge has stopped the sale of a four-storey building in Mlolongo believed to have been acquired using proceeds from human trafficking.

Justice Esther Maina prohibited Peter Kamau and Consolota Musa from mortgaging the property and ordered the Mavoko chief land registrar to place a caveat on the suit parcel.

The judge further issued an order preserving any rental income or profit accruing from the four-storey development on Mlolongo phase two, plot number 1264.

Kamau will also have to surrender the original title documents, leases or registration documents for the property.

The court issued the orders after the Assets Recovery Agency successfully submitted that the duo’s assets were obtained through human trafficking.

The agency's investigator Jeremiah Sautet told court that Kamau, on diverse dates, would receive money through his mobile phones from his associates in Ethiopia.

Kamau would then transport the victims in groups through an undesignated porous border between Kenya and Ethiopia.

He would use his agents then harbour the victims in various hideouts within Kenya and subsequently transport them to international destinations such as Tanzania and South Africa.

He then managed to acquire the property in Mlolongo using proceeds acquired from illegitimate criminal activities of trafficking in persons.

“Our investigations established that the two devised a complex criminal network of enticing, transporting and harbouring vulnerable persons through an international organised criminal network for purposes of exploiting and obtaining gains from the victims of human trafficking,” he said.

According to court documents, the agency commenced investigations to recover proceeds of crime accrued by the duo following their arrest on October 7, 2020, in the Huruma area of Nairobi and subsequent arraignment.

During the arrest, a search was conducted at a house on Umoja estate and Mwihoko in Githurai Kimbo. Also, 22 Ethiopian nationals were found to be unlawfully harboured by the two (Peter Kamau and Consolota Musa) in a vehicle owned by them.

“We received information that the two acquired funds and assets using the proceeds obtained from the illegal trafficking in persons suspected to be proceeds of crime.”

Sautet, in an affidavit, said an analysis was also conducted of Kamau’s bank accounts at Equity, Family Bank and Cooperative.

All three bank accounts received suspicious cash deposits that are suspected to be proceeds of the illegal trafficking in persons.

Deposits were made in tranches below Sh1 million to evade reporting threshold as per the Central Bank of Kenya guidelines for an account holder to declare the source of the money.

Sautet's analysis of Kamau's account held at Equity Bank showed he made suspicious deposits totalling Sh2.8 million between November 2017 and June 2020. He also made withdrawals totalling Sh2.7 million.

From the account at Cooperative Bank, Kamau made deposits totalling Sh409,845 between November 2013 and September 2020 and withdrawals totalling Sh380,272.

“The bank accounts were used as conduits of laundering proceeds of crime from the illegal trafficking in persons by the agency contrary to The Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2009.”

(edited by A. Awuor)