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Traders’ account frozen over heroin




Seized elephant tusks. Joseph Wanjohi and his wife Jane Wambui are accused of heroin trafficking and possession of ivory. AFP PHOTO | NMG 

The High Court has frozen bank accounts and blocked transfer of luxury cars and prime land belonging to a businessman charged with heroin trafficking and wildlife poaching.

Justice Hedwig Ong’undi has agreed with the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) to freeze Sh10.5 million in a Barclays Bank #ticker:BBK account linked to Joseph Wanjohi and his wife Jane Wambui.

The court further froze the transfer of their Range Rover and Mercedes Benz cars as well as three parcels of land in Nairobi.

The agency said the freeze orders are linked to court suits where Mr Wanjohi and his wife are fighting charges of heroin trafficking and possession of elephant tusks.

“Preservation orders are hereby granted prohibiting the respondent and/or their grants or representatives from transacting, withdrawing, transferring, using and any other dealings in respect to funds held at the accounts. The respondents are hereby ordered to surrender the motor vehicles… to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters in Nairobi within seven days,” ruled Justice Ong’undi.

She directed the DCI to seize and detain the vehicles if the trader fails to surrender them. The court ordered the couple to surrender original car log books to the ARA with immediate effect. The Chief Land Register was asked to place caveats on the land to block its disposal.

“The respondents are currently being investigated for several offences including trafficking in narcotics, money laundering, proceeds of crime and engaging in organised crime,” court documents indicate. “The respondents had been charged with trafficking in narcotics in Kibera Chief Magistrate’s Court whose outcome has not been ascertained because the court file cannot be traced.”

The duo was arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in July and four pieces of elephant tusks recovered from their residence.

They were charged a day later with being in possession of wildlife trophy.

In 2009, Mr Wanjohi and his wife were charged with trafficking in heroin following a police raid at their Muthaiga home.

Following their arrest at the JKIA, police recovered assorted alcoholic drinks, Sh469,000, a car and mobile phones at their residence.

ARA sough a freeze order, arguing that there was proof that the cash and property were proceeds of crime.