The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) has filed an application seeking to have $28,000 (Sh3.1 million) recovered from a parcel shipped to Nairobi from the US be forfeited to the government.
The money had been stashed in a jacket that was inside a suitcase sent from South Carolina to a Nigerian national identified as Peter Oluwafemi Olaiwon. It was recovered during a routine search by Posta officials and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officers based at City Square Post Office in November last year.
Olaiwon was arrested upon presenting himself to collect the parcel which was sent by Ms. Linda C Dye, a resident of South Carolina. The suitcase also contained books and other clothes.
ARA in an application filed in court says they suspect the Nigerian national was using Kenya as a smuggling route for illicit funds, adding that he has failed to explain the source of money.
“There are reasonable grounds to suspect the funds in issue may be a direct or indirect benefit, profits and or proceeds of crime obtained from a complex money-laundering scheme or intended for the commission of a crime and are liable to be forfeited to the State,” the agency says in court documents.
“Investigations further established that the above fund was disguised and declared as a parcel of textbooks and clothes raising reasonable suspicion of money laundering scheme executed in an effort to conceal the nature, source, location, destination, disposition, usage and movement of the illicit funds contrary to the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act.”
Olaiwon claims the sender of the parcel, who is a sister to his mother (aunt), did not know that she was supposed to declare the cash. He further explained that does music production which earns him about $2000 (Sh227,000) per month and poultry farming which gives him $ 44,000 (Sh4.9 million) per year.
“That when I came to Kenya I had about US $ 4000 in my account for use during my holiday,” he said in a statement filed at ARA.
Olaiwon was last year charged with financial promotion of an offense contrary to section 7 of the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act and Conveyance of Monetary Instruments to Kenya, contrary to section 12 of the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act. He denied the charges and was released on a cash bail of Sh150,000 and a personal bond of Sh200,000.