- The cash movement over the two months involved over 10 companies owned by the same people and registered under nearly identical names in Kenya, Dubai, the US, Nigeria, Ghana and Hong Kong.
- A Kenyan politician and the Nigerians have been placed at the center of the multi-billion shilling deals that Kenya’s Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) and Interpol suspect are part of a money laundering scheme.
- So far, Kenya’s High Court has frozen 5.6 billion shash frozen in six bank accounts for alleged money laundering pending the filing of a motion for the government to confiscate the money.
Three Nigerians suspected of having the backing of a powerful Kenyan politician and two Kenyans transferred ATS 25.6 billion between October and November 2020, raising alarm bells in Europe and at global police agency Interpol over possible money laundering.
Bank statements provided by a European investigator revealed a cross-continental operation in which huge sums of dollars were transferred to Kenyan banks and wired to several locally registered companies with common ownership and suspicious addresses.
The cash movement over the two months involved over 10 companies owned by the same people and registered under nearly identical names in Kenya, Dubai, the US, Nigeria, Ghana and Hong Kong.
A Kenyan politician and the Nigerians have been placed at the center of the multi-billion shilling deals that Kenya’s Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) and Interpol suspect are part of a money laundering scheme, with the sources of the money viewed as a criminal enterprise will .
We cannot name the politician who was captured in both ARA and Interpol reports in this story for legal reasons.
So far, Kenya’s High Court has frozen 5.6 billion shash frozen in six bank accounts for alleged money laundering pending the filing of a motion for the government to confiscate the money.
This suggests that Kenyan authorities are tracking only a small portion of the billions poured into local bank accounts in 2020, underscoring the fight against illicit financial flows.
The Sh25.6 billion is greater than the value of blue chip companies listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange such as KenGen #ticker:KEGN with a market capitalization of Sh23.6 billion, Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ ( Sh21.7 billion), Jubilee Insurance #ticker:JUB (Sh19.4 billion) and Britam Insurance #ticker:BRIT (Sh17 billion).
The transactions into the Kenyan accounts were made in 69 tranches, with the highest single transfer being Sh3.1 billion (US$27 million), according to bank statements Business Daily.
The money was transferred to Kenyan bank accounts under the name RemX Limited by a company of the same name registered in Nigeria in 2018 with registration number 1541891.
The Nigerian Company Register shows that RemX Ltd is owned by Nehikhare Eghosasere and Demuren Olufemi Olukunmi and has its offices at 16C Ruxton Road, Ikoyi, an island in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria.
The two, along with Olubunmi Akinbanjo Akinyemiju, have created cross-continental bases, registering companies with similar names or with slight variations in Kenya, Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates, the US and Europe.
RemX Ltd in Kenya was registered on December 10, 2019 and has its address at Tetu Apartments, State House Avenue. In Kenya, the three Nigerians also own Nairobi-registered RemX Capital Ltd.
Other owners are Dubai-listed RemX Holding Kenya Ltd with Kenyan directors John Kisilu Kamusina and Evalyne Wawira Gachoki.
Eghosasere and Olukunmi also own RemX Investments Partners Limited with an address in Britam Towers.
The billions were later remitted to RemX Inc, Multigate Limited and RemX Capital Ltd in the two months of October and November 2020, leaving a balance of Sh2.9 billion (US$25.1 million), or nearly 10 percent of cash, which flowed into the Kenyan accounts.
Multigate Ltd is registered in Kenya as a fintech company and is owned by Multigate Holding Kenya Ltd, which is registered in Dubai and is owned by the three Nigerians.
The company says on its social media pages that it has a presence in Dubai, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania.
Kenyan court documents say transactions were made through suspicious transfers and withdrawals to hide the source.
A European investigator, who asked not to be named, told Business Daily that most of the funds were moved using fake Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
SLA is a contract between a service provider and its customers that outlines the provider’s deliverables and defines the standards that the provider should meet.
Other transactions were conducted through an invoice refactoring scheme to disguise the origin of the funds.
Invoice factoring is one way a company can fund its operations by selling its invoices to third parties. Leaked WhatsApp messages show Nigerians were in constant talks with Kenyan bank executives in the midst of transferring the billions.
Eghosasere informed his partners in one of the texts that local bankers supported the transactions, apart from officials from Citi Bank, which applies strict anti-money laundering rules inherited from its parent company in the US.
He said in a separate message that the fifth-largest US bank was having a major “headache” for its operations due to strict compliance.
Other companies linked to the billions include OIT Africa Ltd and Avalon Offshore Logistics
OIT Africa had Sh4.8 billion frozen in three bank accounts, while Sh43.5 million and Sh765 million owned by Avalon Offshore Logistics and RemX Capital respectively were also frozen by the ARA.
A search of the company register revealed that Avalon Offshore is owned by Nigerians Jeffrey Nnaoma Michaels and Uduma Okoro Christopher Kalu. The company was registered in November 2020 and is based in Westlands.
Both Kalu and Nnaoma are listed as directors of the company, with Kalu holding 1,600 common shares with the remainder owned by his partner.
A search online reveals that Nnaoma is listed as a director of several companies registered in Nigeria including a forex office. The two Nigerians’ post office number was linked to several companies operating on the 13th floor of the prestigious Delta Corner office building in Westlands.
OIT Africa is owned by Vionnah Akoth Odongo and Kenneth Odongo Raminya each with 500 shares and the company was registered on July 14, 2017.
OIT Africa told the Registrar of Companies that it operates out of 680 Plaza, the building where the 680 Hotel is located.
The mobile number is registered under the name of another person who denies knowing OIT Africa and Ms Odongo and Mr Raminya.