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State wants Sh27.3m Bentley linked to Congolese in Sh287m dirty cash probe

Economy

State wants Sh27.3m Bentley linked to Congolese in Sh287m dirty cash probe

Thursday June 02 2022
BENTAYGA

A state agency has applied for the seizure of a luxurious Bentley vehicle worth Sh27.3 million imported into the country by a Congolese businessman suspected to be part of a money-laundering scheme.

The Bentley Bentayga is currently at the Mombasa Port awaiting clearance from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) says the vehicle should be forfeited to the government as it is proceeds of crime.

The vehicle belongs to Jean-Paul Tshikangu Musangu, a Congolese and holder of a Belgian passport, who is suspected to be involved in money laundering schemes.

“There are reasonable grounds and evidence demonstrating that the motor vehicle held by the respondent and the interested party is direct or indirect benefits or profits of crime obtained from a complex money-laundering scheme,” ARA said in the petition.

In December, the High Court froze more than Sh287.2 million in three bank accounts and a Mercedes Benz belonging to Musangu and an associate, Venan Ma-Mabiala Mabiala, believed to be part of a money laundering scheme.

Both are directors of Groupe Elykia ltd, a company that allegedly deals in timber but which does not have an office or registered address in Kenya.

Evidence presented to court showed that the company received $5 million from a Mr Dmitri of Vandome Company in October, for the purchase of timber, which they are yet to supply. 

Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) said an analysis of one of the accounts showed that a company known as Car Warehouse Ltd, received Sh39.7 million on November 16, from Groupe Elykia Ltd, for the purchase of two high-end motor vehicles- a Mercedes Benz and Bentley Bentayaga.

While the Mercedes Benz was imported into Kenya and delivered to Mr Musangu, the Bentley Bentayaga is yet to be brought into the country.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that the suspects bank accounts were used as conduits of money laundering in an effort to conceal, disguise the nature, source, disposition and movement of the illicit funds and should be preserved,” ARA’s Mohamed Adow told the court.

The agency alleges that the duo use the accounts as a conduit of deceit and money laundering under the pretense of supplying timber obtained from Democratic Republic of Congo to other countries, but supply nothing.

One of the accounts registered in Mr Musangu’s name has $305,950 (Sh34.6 million), a second account belonging to Mr Mabiala has $488,423 (Sh55.1 million) while a third account registered in their company’s name (Groupe Elykia) has $1,747,105 (Sh197.4 million).

“Investigations have established that upon receipt of the suspect fuds, the respondents withdrew or transferred to multiple accounts owned by themselves or their associates,” the agency said.

The agency wants the court to direct the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to register the motor vehicle in ARA’s name.

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