Ruto used Nigerians to launder Sh25.6bn
Ruto used Nigerians to launder Sh25.6bn
By John Kamau, Editor, thingira.org (Email:email@example.com)
Three Nigerians suspected to enjoy the backing of Deputy President William Ruto (pictured with Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura) and two other Kenyans wired Sh25.6 billion between October and November 2020, setting off alarm bells in Europe and at the global police agency Interpol over possible money laundering.
Bank statements provided by a European investigator revealed a cross-continental operation that moved huge sums of dollars to Kenyan banks and wired them to multiple companies registered locally with shared ownership and suspect addresses.
The cash movement over the two months involved over 10 companies owned by the same individuals and registered under near-identical names in Kenya, Dubai, US, Nigeria and Ghana.
This came as the government through the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) seized Sh5.6 billion Ruto had wired to the country through proxies for use in the August 9 General Election campaigns.
Ruto has been using his son-in-law, Alexander Ezenagu, a Nigerian national and former Nigeria vice-president, Atiku Abubakar to launder money to Kenya for use in the campaigns.
The two have through Kenyans and Nigerian proxies opened bank accounts in Kenya and Uganda which they use to withdraw large sums of money for onward transmission to the Deputy President.
But security agents, in collaboration with Interpol, have been following Ezenagu and Abubakar’s money trail locally and internationally and have established the identities of the proxies in Kenya and Uganda.
The proxies used include directors of Avalon Offshore who are Nigerians Jeffrey Nnaoma Michaels and Uduma Okoro Christopher Kalu.
The said company was registered in November 2020 and has its address in Westlands.
Kalu and Nnaoma are listed as directors of the company, with Kalu holding 1,600 ordinary shares while the rest are owned by his partner.
Nnaoma is also listed as a director of several companies registered in Nigeria, including a forex bureau.
The post office number of the two Nigerians was linked to several firms that operate from the 13th floor of the prestigious Delta Corner office block in Westlands.
The investigators found OIT Africa had Sh4.8 billion in two Equity accounts and one in UBA but could not explain the source of the money.
Other proxies are directors of OIT Africa who are Kenyans, Vionnah Akoth Odongo and Kenneth Odongo Raminya, who have 500 shares each.
The OIT Africa was registered on July 14, 2017, raising eyebrows on the nature of business it does.
OIT Africa claims it operates from 680 Plaza, the building that hosts the 680 Hotel but its mobile number is registered under the name of a different person, who denied knowledge of OIT Africa and Ms Odongo and Raminya when called by journalists.
Avalon Offshore Logistics had Sh43.5
million in two Equity accounts, while
Remix Capital, which is a ghost company, had Sh765 million in one UBA account. The two firms were unable to show the source of the funds.
The Kenyan security agencies backed by Interpol were able to establish the link between Ruto and the directors of the said companies, through Ezenagu and Abubakar.
The Deputy President’s eldest daughter, June, married Ezenagu mid last year in a lavish ceremony in Nairobi.
The state agencies and Interpol trailed Ruto when in November 2020 he travelled to Dubai and had a meeting with Abubakar who has been living there for many years.
What raised eyebrow is that in 2006 the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the Maryland home of Abubakar in search of bribe money that the bureau believed had been paid to him by Representative William Jefferson.
The documents included an affidavit signed by an F.B.I. agent who said the then Nigerian vice-president, Abubakar, then a candidate for president of the oil-rich West African nation, asked for at least half of the profits of a technology company controlled by Jefferson that was seeking to do business in Nigeria.
About the same time, the documents said, Jefferson told colleagues of his plans to bribe Nigerian officials, including Abubakar, in exchange for their help in winning business in Nigeria, and that Abubakar would be paid as much as $500,000 in cash.
Abubakar worked under President Olusegun Obasanjo as the vice president. The two clashed with President Obasanjo calling it quits on their friendship entirely.
In his latest memoir as the President of Nigeria, Obasanjo describes his former deputy as a very selfish person who will tread morals just for money.
It is the same description Uhuru has for Ruto.
Insiders added that the state agencies with the help of Interpol again trailed Ruto when he jetted to Dubai mid-February this year, in what sources described as a routine medical check-up.
In the Dubai visit, Ruto also met his daughter, June, who lives with her husband, Ezenagu and plans of wiring money to Kenya for campaigns topped the agenda.
Unknown to Ruto, state security agents and Interpol were trailing him even when he sneaked out of Dubai to Italy accompanied by Ezenagu and Abubakar.
In the unspecified mission to Italy that was first exposed by Kieni MP Kanini Kega, Ruto met some directors of CMC Di Ravenna, the Italian company that was controversially contracted by the government to undertake construction of Arrow and Kimwarer multipurpose dams in breach of all laws related to procurement.
There are reports Ruto was paid over Sh4 billion in kickbacks by the Italian firm.
The two-day Italy meeting discussed ways of wiring money paid as kickbacks to Ruto to Kenya.
After the Italy visit, Ruto in the company of Ezenagu and Abubakar book a private jet that flew them back to Dubai where the Deputy President visited Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria who had been receiving treatment there.
It was during the visit that Kuria invited Ruto for his homecoming thanksgiving prayer that was scheduled to happen at Thika Stadium.
Kuria had suffered a third-degree burn from an electric mat and has undergone several procedures both locally and abroad.
It is at this juncture that Interpol and Kenya security agencies established the identities of the proxies Ezenagu and Abubakar were using in Kenya and Uganda to launder money for Ruto’s use during the campaigns.
The sleuths were able to link the Sh5.6 billion that was frozen in six bank accounts over alleged money laundering to Ruto.
The High Court ordered the freezing of the large amount that was in the accounts in Equity Bank #ticker:EQTY and UBA Bank after the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) applied to block the transfer or withdrawal, pending the filing of a petition to have the money forfeited to the government.