Kenyan politician, Nigerians wired Sh500 billion in days amid money laundering fears

Kenyan politician, Nigerians wired Sh500 billion in days amid money laundering fears

US Dollars. PHOTO| FILE Three Nigerians suspected to enjoy the backing of a powerful Kenyan politician and two Kenyans wired Sh25.6 billion between October and November 2020, setting off alarm bells in Europe and at the global police agency Interpol over possible money laundering.

Bank statements provided by a European investigator revealed a cross-continental operation that moved huge sums of dollars to Kenyan banks and wired them to multiple companies registered locally with shared ownership and suspect addresses.

The cash movement over the two months involved over 10 companies owned by the same individuals and registered under near-identical names in Kenya, Dubai, US, Nigeria and Ghana.

A Kenyan politician and the Nigerians have been placed at the centre of the multi-billion shilling dealings that Kenya’s Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) and Interpol suspect are part of a money-laundering scheme, with sources of the cash believed to be a criminal enterprise.

We cannot name the politician captured in both ARA and Interpol reports in this story for legal reasons.

So far, Kenya’s High Court has frozen Sh5.6 billion frozen in six bank accounts over alleged money laundering, pending the filing of a petition to have the money forfeited to the government.

This suggests that Kenyan authorities are pursuing just a small share of the billions that started flowing into the local bank accounts in 2020, underlining the struggle to tackle illicit financial flows.

The KSh25.6 billion is larger than the value of blue-chip firms listed at the Nairobi bourse such as KenGen , which has a market capitalisation of KSh23.6 billion, Kenya Airways (KSh21.7 billion), Jubilee Insurance (KSh19.4 billion) and Britam Insurance (KSh17 billion).

The transactions into the Kenyan accounts were done in 69 tranches, with the highest single transfer at KSh3.1 billion ($27 million), according to bank statements seen by the Business Daily.

The money was wired into Kenya bank accounts under the name of RemX Limited from a company with the same name registered in Nigeria in 2018 with a listing number 1541891.

Nigerian company registry shows RemX Ltd is owned by Nehikhare Eghosasere and Demuren Olufemi Olukunmi, with its offices on 16C Ruxton Road, Ikoyi, an island in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria.The two together with Olubunmi Akinbanjo Akinyemiju have created cross-continental bases and registered companies with similar names or with slight variations in Kenya, Nigeria, the UAE, the US, and Europe.RemX Ltd in Kenya was registered on December 10, 2019, and has its address in Tetu […]

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