Asian woman and four Kenyans linked to 2.3 billion shillings debit card fraud –

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An Asian woman and four Kenyans have been linked to debit card fraud.

The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) is seeking to recover around 2.3 billion shillings believed to be proceeds of crime.

In a petition to the High Court, the state agency said the four; Monthida Rashi (Loatian), Stephen Njenga Maina, Felix Rantuu Lekishe, Solomon Joseph Maina and Robert Lemerketo held the billions of shillings in two accounts at Ecobank.

The accounts were registered under the company name Kiwipay Kenya Limited. The company was registered on June 3, 2020.

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The directors; Maina, Lekishe and Karimoni each hold 2,900 shares. Ms. Rashi owns 8,000 while Mr. Lemerketo owns 23,300 shares, making him the largest shareholder.

According business daily, Kiwipay PTE Ltd, a Singapore-based company owns the bulk of the shares. Official records at the Companies Registry, the name of Mr. Lemerketo is missing.

The company claims that it provides foreign e-wallet solutions such as Alipay, SamsungPay, ApplePay, WeChatPay, etc., enabling digital payment services such as QR code solutions for retail establishments, hotels and restaurants.

While the agency investigates the source of the funds, Judge Esther Maina barred the company and its directors from withdrawing or transferring the funds for a period of 90 days.

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“That Preservation Orders be and are hereby issued prohibiting Defendant (KiwiPay), its employees, agents, servants or any other person acting on their behalf from transacting in, transferring or dealing with the specified funds” , ordered the judge.

A magistrate’s court had in May ordered the funds frozen for 45 days, but after the owners pleaded their case, the court on June 7 allowed them to withdraw 15 million shillings.

The agency requested a High Court hearing, citing the expiry date of the June 27 freezing order.

“That there is an imminent risk that funds held in the specified bank accounts in the amount of $19.4 million will be withdrawn, transferred and/or dissipated if preservation orders are not granted, which would significantly harm ongoing investigations into money laundering and the tracing, identification and recovery of proceeds of crime,” ARA argued.

Also Read: Court freezes 115m shillings wired to Kenyan woman by Mauritius-based company

State Attorney Stephen Githinji told the court there was speculation about the company’s possible involvement in credit or debit card fraud and its affiliation with a global gang.

“That preliminary investigations have established that the Respondent was involved in a complex money laundering scheme designed to conceal, conceal the nature, source and disposition of illicit funds, suspected to be proceeds of crime and which are the object of this motion,” Mr. Githinji said.

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