Nigerian arrested at JKIA losses bid to have his Sh 100 million back

Milimani Law Courts

High court has dismissed an by the Nigerian businessman who was arrested at JKIA and his Sh 100 million seized to have the money released to him.

Anti-Corruption court Judge James Wakiaga dismissed the application by Mauzu Bala seeking to unfreeze his Sh100 million which is currently in the custody of the Central Bank of Kenya.

“I find no merit in the application for variation of the orders herein at this stage, which I hereby dismiss with cost in the cause”, ruled the judge.

Bala who was on transit to Dubai from Nigeria when he was nabbed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport said he had declared the money back in Lagos and was cleared by customs officials.

The Assets Recovery Agency said that the Nigerian did not have documents indicating the source and purpose of the monies.

The agency believes the money may have been proceeds of crime from a complex money laundering scheme.

The judge said that the issue of whether or not he had made the required declaration is not relevant at this stage, as the application which was before the court was for preservation of the subject matter and the source and legality thereof shall be the subject of forfeiture proceedings if and when the same is filed by the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA).

Justice Wakiaga found that and held that the applicant contention that the order was obtained on the basis of material non-disclosure lacks merit, as the court would still have issued the preservation orders even if the proceeds before the chief magistrate’s court were ongoing, as the proceedings are civil in nature.

“At Murtala Mohammed International Airport, I declared the currency and I was cleared by the customs to travel. I checked in the consignment and as is the usual norm in international travels, my next declaration point ordinary would have been Dubai International Airport,” said Bala.

Bala has accused Assets Recovery Agency failing to make full disclosure to the court when the order was issued.

He claims that the Agency filed two applications before the High Court without informing the Magistrate court sitting at JKIA that they had filed application seeking to seize and preserve his money and a ruling was pending.

In his court documents, Bala claims that the information given by ARA was not accurate and was intentionally meant to mislead the court.

He added that he was surprised Kenya Airways which cleared him at Lagos travel aboard their aircraft with “undeclared currency” pounced on him in Nairobi with the intention to deprive him of his money.

“I pray that the orders granted be set aside and the court replaces the same with an order directing the money in question be released,” added the applicant.