Nigerian arrested at JKIA with Ksh100 million, can’t account for its source

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Jomo Kenyatta International Airport arrivals section. [Photo courtesy]

A Nigerian national who was arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Friday last week risks losing Ksh100 million that he was in possession of.

The Nigerian, Mauzu Bala was destined for Dubai when he was arrested.

Now, the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) is seeking court orders to freeze the Sh100 million which was in different currencies – 880,000 US dollars, 60,000 euros and 63,000 Nigerian naira.

ARA told the court that the Nigerian national could not account for the source of the money nor produce any documentation to explain how and why was in possession of such a huge amount of money.

Bala only said that the money was meant for business which he was to close in Dubai.

The agency alleges that these are proceeds of money laundering.

While in court, an ARA officer said that the Kenyan law requires one to declare any amount of money exceeding Ksh1 million.

“The threshold for requiring the declaration was not complied as the respondent did not disclose the source of the cash, the business he was doing and the basis of moving with cash of that magnitude,” Fedrick Musyoki, a police investigator attached to ARA, said in an affidavit seen by Business Daily.

He added: “There are reasonable grounds to suspect the funds found in possession of the respondents in cash may be a direct or indirect benefit or proceeds of crime obtained from a complex money laundering scheme and are liable to be forfeited to the state under the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2009.”

After his arrest, the money was lodged with Kenya Airways. Bala used a KQ plane from Lagos to Nairobi and was on his way to board another Dubai-bound KQ plane when he at intercepted by ARA officers at the transit lounges.

A few months ago, Transparency International said that Gulf City of Dubai Banj was a haven for money laundering.

Bala joins 12 other Nigerians who were arrested in UAE in June this year in possession of $40 million.

The 12 were branded as scammers who preyed on unsuspecting American who would wire them a lot of money.

This funded their lavish lifestyle with high-end cars and luxurious residences.