The High Court on Wednesday suspended the hearing of a Sh102 million money laundering case after two women showed up in court claiming to be 21-year-old college student Felister Nyamathira Njoroge.
The women in question have hired separate lawyers to fight the Asset Recovery Agency’s (ARA) cash-freeze suit, which was filed in November of 2021.
Appearing before Justice Esther Maina, two advocates gave conflicting information hence confusing the court.
The judge ordered that the case be put on hold for 90 days so that the lawyers may hand over their clients to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) for identification of the real Ms Njoroge.
Mr Walter Owaga, one of the lawyers, told the court that Ms Njoroge left the country six months ago and has yet to return, while Mr Thomas Maosa, the other counsel, claimed that his client has never left the country.
“It is unfortunate we find ourselves in this situation. The real Felister is out of the country and is heavily pregnant and she is due to give birth. We can present documents to support our position. We can present her to ARA depending on the medical advice and upon travelling back to the country,” said Mr Owaga.
He went on to say that Ms Njoroge had never asked a law firm to represent her and had no idea there was an advocate on record.
Mr Maosa on the other hand informed the court that Ms Njoroge has never travelled out of the country. He added that she appointed him alongside Prof PLO Lumumba and Mr Farady Nyangoro to defend the case.
“We presented Felister to ARA but they opted not to take her statement. She is not out of the country. We are ready to present her again,” the court heard.
Mr Mohamed Adow, ARA’s lawyer, advised that the lawyers present their respective clients claiming to be Ms Njoroge to the DCI for identification.
The millions wired to Ms Njoroge’s account are suspected to be money laundering proceeds. On August 4, the Belgian sent $229,980, followed by $231,980 the next day. Marc De Mesel sent the money twice on August 6, a total of $224,980 and $227,980.
A further Sh108.2 million was wired to yet another student, Tebby Wambuku Kago, by the foreigner.
Wambuku’s accounts were also frozen as the lawsuit continues to be heard. Equity Bank holds US dollars 631,071.67 and Sh37 million in the accounts.