Kenya: Agency Allowed to Seize 5 Vehicles Used in Human Trafficking

A state agency has been allowed to seize five vehicles used by a criminal network to traffic Ethiopians to countries such as Tanzania and South Africa.

The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) says the vehicles were acquired using money earned from illegitimate activities.

The case started when one of the suspects, Peter Mugi Kamau, was arrested in October last year harbouring 22 Ethiopians.

Mr Kamau was subsequently charged in a Kiambu court as the agency started investigations to seize funds and assets acquired through the illegal trade of trafficking in persons.

The vehicles include four Toyotas and a Nissan Caravan.

Justice James Wakiaga directed Mr Kamau to surrender the original logbooks of the vehicles, and the director-general of the National Transport and Safety Authority to register caveats on the vehicles.

Sh400,000

The court also ordered about Sh400,000 held in three bank accounts belonging to the suspects to be frozen. The money is believed to be proceeds of the illegal trade.

Mr Kamau was arrested on October 7 last year and a search of a house in Nairobi, found 22 Ethiopians waiting to be ferried to various destinations.

The agency said it believes the Ethiopians were victims of human trafficking and were being held illegally by Mr Kamau.

After the arrest, one of the vehicles was impounded and further investigations revealed that some of the vehicles are registered to one of the kingpins being pursued.

Suspicious deposits

An analysis of one bank account belonging to Mr Kamau revealed that he was making suspicious deposits and withdrawals, money believed to have been acquired from or used to conduct the illegal trade of human trafficking.

"Investigations further established that the bank accounts were used as conduits of laundering proceeds of crime from the illegal trafficking in persons by the Respondent contrary to the proceeds of crime and the provisions of Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2009," the court heard.

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