NAIROBI—The state has been allowed to seize Sh43.5 million from a businessman suspected to have been stolen from the Mandera County government through fictitious contracts.
High Court judge Esther Maina said Ali Abdi Ibrahim failed to explain the source of the millions yet there was evidence that much of it was from the county government.
An analysis by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) showed that two of the accounts held at Equity Bank, Mandera branch, belonging to Mr Ibrahim, received a total of Sh124,750,000 from various companies, which were being investigated. The funds were later withdrawn or transferred to other accounts in a scheme of money laundering.
Mr Ibrahim had defended that part of the money was from contracts secured from the county government and loans given to some of the companies, which were being investigated.
“He has not given an iota of evidence to prove that either himself, his companies or the companies that paid the money into his accounts did legitimate business with the County Government of Mandera, which paid them the money,” the judge said.
The judge noted that claims that he subcontracted other companies for the work was not only inconsistent but also contradictory because there was no credible explanation as to why he benefitted from money paid to one of the companies by the county government.
Investigations showed that between August 14, 2018, and January 2020, some Sh75.4 million was deposited in one of the accounts.
The funds were from Bami Investments Ltd, a company that was being investigated by the taxman.
Another payment of Sh23.9 million was made by Kurte Supplies & General Construction Company Ltd.
ARA said the bank accounts received suspicious huge cash deposits suspected to be stolen and or fraudulently acquired from Mandera County Government by Mr Ibrahim, his agents or representatives. One of the accounts hold Sh39.6 million while the other has Sh3.8 million.
Mr Ibrahim had pleaded with the court in 2020 to unfreeze the accounts saying he was using the money to sustain his family and for running his businesses.