The State on Tuesday lost its bid to seize and transfer to taxpayers a luxury car belonging to the mother of a suspect charged with theft of Sh791 million at the National Youth Service (NYS).
Justice Hedwig Ong’udi ruled that the Assets Recovery Agency failed to link the Sh7.3 million Jeep Cherokee to proceeds from the NYS scandal.
Ms Charity Wangui Gethi, the mother of Ben Gethi, showed that she purchased the black 2014 vehicle, before monies suspected to have been looted from NYS were deposited in her accounts.
Justice Ong’udi said that even if she received questionable monies, ARA had failed to prove that they were siphoned from NYS.
She said anyone who alleges must be ready to prove and in this case, the agency failed to table evidence linking the purchase of the vehicle to NYS proceeds.
The agency moved to court in 2016 saying they were investigating the loss of Sh791,385,000 from NYS and had established that vehicle was procured using part of the stolen funds.
ARA successfully applied for the preservation of the vehicle, pending the application to forfeit it to the government.
Ms Gethi submitted that under Article 40 of the Constitution, she has a right to own property and the case was based on mere suspicions. She complained that the vehicle was wasting away at The Cid yard because it wasn’t being maintained since January when it was seized.
The court heard that although Ms Gethi was not a direct beneficiary of the NYS scam, the monies were allegedly received by Ms Josephine Kabura, who is also facing charges in connection to the loss of the Sh791 million.
ARA had alleged that Ms Kabura received Sh273 million from NYS, which she allegedly transferred to John Kago Ndung’u.
It is said that some Sh108 million was transferred to a company known as Good luck, owned by Mr Ndung’u, while another Sh103 million was deposited to a law firm of Ogolla and Company advocates, who in turn transferred Sh28 million to Ms Gethi’s accounts.
“It is clear to me that whatever she may have received was not part of the money used to purchase the motor vehicle,” the judge said adding that one of the companies she owns has not been linked to the scam.