Kenya Drops Financial Crimes Charges Against Three Nigerian Firms

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) in Kenya has dropped lawsuits against three Nigerian firms, Avalon Offshore Logistics Limited, OIT Africa Limited, and RemX Capital Limited after their bank accounts were frozen over suspicion of money laundering and crime.

A Kenyan high court lifted a freeze order on KSh 5.6 billion belonging to the three companies after the ARA told the court that the response that the companies gave for holding these funds was satisfactory.

The agency’s probe into the companies started in February of this year when the agency claimed to have gotten information that these companies were engaged in international money laundering. Afterwards, the agency’s investigation revealed that they had received money from multiple locations.

In April, the ARA applied to a high court to freeze KSh 5.6 billion in six accounts belonging to these companies. The ARA had accused the three companies of smuggling more than KSh 25 billion into the country from offshore between October and November of last year. It appealed to the court to freeze the remaining funds of KSh 5.6 billion to prevent the companies from transferring or withdrawing them.

The ARA revealed that the companies’ bank accounts were used to receive funds from dubious sources before these funds were rapidly transferred or withdrawn to other countries in order to mask their nature and purpose.

Earlier, the ARA had revealed these companies are owned by two Nigerians who are backed by a powerful Kenyan politician and two Kenyans.

Avalon Offshore, which was registered in Kenya in November 2020, is owned by two Nigerians, identified as Mr Jeffrey Nnaoma Michaels and Mr Uduma Okoro Christopher Kalu.

OIT Africa, which was registered in Kenya on July 14, 2017, is owned by Vionnah Akoth Odongo and Kenneth Odongo Raminya.

RemX is owned by Mr Nehikhare Eghosasere and Nigerian venture capitalist, Mr Demuren Olufemi Olukunmi.

Upon the ARA’s application, the court had frozen KSh 4.9 billion belonging to OIT Africa in three accounts at Equity Bank and United Bank for Africa (UBA), KSh 787 million from RemX Capital Limited’s UBA dollar account, and KSh 43.5 million in two Equity Bank accounts belonging to Avalon Offshore Logistics Limited.

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