The High Court has allowed an application by a state agency to freeze bank accounts linked to a payments solution firm over claims of money laundering.
Justice Nixon Sifuna froze the accounts belonging to Virtual Financials International limited, holding over Sh63 million after he was informed that the money could be proceeds of crime.
The money was in two bank accounts, with one holding $16,661.75 and Sh 60,789,500.05 held at Equity Bank under Virtual Financials International limited.
The Judge ordered the account to remain frozen for three months pending an application for forfeiture of the funds to the state.
This after Asset Recovery Agency approached the court under certificate of urgency seeking to freeze the two Bank accounts containing money arguing that investigations revealed that the funds were linked to proceeds of crime.
“There are no High Court orders currently preserving the funds in issue and there is imminent danger the Respondent shall dispose, transfer, withdraw and dissipate the said funds unless this Honourable Court issues preservation orders as prayed in this application,” ARA told the court while seeking orders to freeze the accounts.
The Agency says in documents filed before Anti-Corruption court that they were tipped on 10th of May that the two Bank accounts were holding money suspected to be proceeds of criminal activities and money laundering.
Financial investigations were conducted by the agency later revealed complex fraud and money laundering schemes conducted by Virtual Financials International ltd , it’s directors and associates rendering the said funds proceeds of crime liable for preservation and forfeiture.
“The said Bank accounts received suspicious huge cash deposits from various suspicious sources and investigations established that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the funds in the issue are obtained through illegitimate means,” ARA told Anti-Corruption court judge.
The court was informed that the investigations further established that Virtual Financials International ltd was involved in a complex scheme of money laundering designed to conceal, disguise the nature, source of disposition and movement of the illicit funds.
The agency Investigating officer Isaac Nakitare told the judge that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the virtual’s bank accounts were used as conduits of money laundering contrary to Sections 3, 4 and 7 as read together with Section 16 of Proceeds of Crime and Anti- Money Laundering Act in an effort to conceal and disguise the nature, source, disposition or movement of the illicit funds.
“My investigations established that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the funds in issue are proceed of from illegitimate activities and the same be preserved pending filing and determination of the intended forfeiture application,” the officer told the Anti-Corruption court.
Investigator told the court that it was in the public interest that the orders sought are granted and the suspect funds be preserved.