Court locks funds in Sh4bn KRA theft suit

The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) has obtained court orders freezing the accounts of individuals who were early this year charged with stealing Sh3.9 billion from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

The court issued the orders in response to the ARA’s petition indicating that David Ndung’u Wambugu and his Tokyo Motors International’s accounts at a local bank may be part of a plot by the suspects to launder the money.

Mr Wambugu has been charged alongside 11 other individuals with stealing Sh3.9 billion from the taxman and altering KRA records to cover up the scam.

The ARA flagged Mr Wambugu’s accounts in March after one of them received Sh2 million from the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).

The courts had initially frozen the bank accounts for 81 days, but the decision was later reversed after Mr Wambugu argued that there was no progress with the investigations nearly three months after they started.

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ARA then filed a fresh application before the Anti-Corruption Court, which issued fresh orders freezing Mr Wambugu’s accounts until the suit is determined.

“The orders issued by the Chief Magistrate’s Court in which the court lifted the freezing orders be and are hereby stayed. The funds in the name of David Ndung’u Wambugu be and are hereby preserved until hearing and determination of the instant application. In the meantime those orders shall be extracted and served upon Mr Wambugu and the bank,” Justice Lydia Achode ruled.

Mr Wambugu has protested the freeze on his accounts, arguing that the ARA has not produced any evidence linking his bank accounts to the crimes committed at KRA.

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Mr Wambugu has argued that money wired to his account from CRBC was for services his firm, Tokyo Motors International, rendered to the Chinese firm. Details of the services rendered are, however, not revealed in his affidavit.

Justice Achode has ordered the parties to appear before her on June 27 for a hearing.

Mr Wambugu has been charged alongside Calvin Otieno Ogalo, Albert Komen Kipkechem, Alex Mutungi Mutuku, Lucy Katilo Wamwandu, Edward Kiprop Langat, Kenneth Opege Riaga, Omar Ibrahim, James Mwaniki Gakung’u, Gilbert Kiptala Kipkechem and Joseph Kirai Mwangi.

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