The High Court has ordered the forfeiture of Sh62 million held in two accounts which is believed to be proceeds of crime and theft at the devolved unit.
Mandera official, Abdi Mohamed Ali the director of Livestock since February 2013, and his wife Saadia Sheikh Osman failed to explain how he made the money deposited between June 2014 and January 2020 when he received Sh9.9 million as salary from the county government.
Justice Mumbi Ngugi said such funds are not protected under the constitutional guarantee in Article 40.
“The respondents have large sums of money deposited in their accounts, which they have not been able to show a legitimate source in respect of. The only conclusion that can be arrived at is that the funds are proceeds of crime as defined in POCAMLA and are therefore liable to forfeiture to the state,” the judge ruled.
According to Justice Ngugi, their forfeiture to the state does not violate the constitutionally guaranteed protection of property.
The couple had argued that the forfeiture order would violate their right to presumption of innocence, which the judge said is not applicable in civil proceedings.
Justice Ngugi also said that the couple had not placed any evidence before me that would show that the funds have a legitimate source.
The deposits were made days apart in tranches ranging from Sh50,000 to Sh5 million in the joint accounts with his wife Osman.
He made withdrawals of Sh10.4 million during that period.
The judgment came about after Asset Recovery Agency filed an application which sought forfeiture orders saying it suspected the money in question was proceeds of crime.
The agency went to court saying that the couple had been making suspicious deposits in tranches of below Sh1 million to evade the reporting threshold.
Investigations established that there were massive suspicious cash deposits made from different locations, including Garissa, Mandera and Moyale as well as Eastleigh and Westlands in Nairobi.
Between July 27, 2018 and February 8, 2020, one of the accounts had received Sh21.4 million and there were no withdrawals.
However, the couple defended themselves saying they are livestock dealers and beekeepers with 200 beehives and had made Sh6.4 million from sale of honey.
The couple said that they have annexed letters from county governments of Mandera and Garissa as well as livestock movement permits.