Woman who spent Sh279m cash in 4 months gets assets frozen

Wanja is said to be worth Sh468 million.

File image of money in a bag confiscated by police as evidence

Justice James Wakiage has frozen assets belong to Kenya Rural Roads Deputy Director Margaret Wanja in a case where she was accused of obtaining wealth through proceeds of crime.

The Assets Recovery Agency which filed the application told the court that Wanja had spent Sh279.5 million to acquire properties in four months, spooking detectives who investigated her.

“An order is hereby issued stopping the respondents or their agents from transferring or dealing with the funds in the stated accounts or disposing of the listed properties pending determination of the suit,” ruled Wakiaga.

The Kerra boss who was found to have been worth Sh468 million was accused of spending the cash between June and October 2019 when the Central Bank of Kenya was phasing out the old generation Sh1,000 notes.

The prosecution told Justice Wakiaga that Wanja bought 11 apartments in Kileleshwa for Sh264 million in cash.

The court documents also said she spent another Sh15 million on 12 units in Ruaka.

Also frozen were several bank accounts with a total of Sh94 million, another house in Nairobi worth Sh55 million and land in Dagoretti worth Sh25 million.

The apartments bought in the spending spree had rental income ranging between Sh 116,000 to Sh250,000.

The court ordered that all rental income from the properties be deposited in an account operated by the ARA pending the determination of the case.

The suspect allegely used proxies to acquried the properties in question in a bid to cover up ownership.

At the end of the demonetization period, CBK announced that notes worth Sh7.4 billion were not exchanged, rendering them worthless.

The period saw banks registering huge deposits as many Kenyans rushed to exchange their notes before the deadline.

The government tracked large deposits through banks which were required to inspect the source of huge transactions.

Many who did not want to spook authorities would transact fairly sizable amounts on a regular basis to avoid reaching the threshold required for reporting. Other suspicious individuals went on a spending spree, buying land, cars, houses and other forms of property in cash.

The government has been stepping up its efforts to recover wealth obtained using proceeds of crime

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