How Ksh.30 billion COVID-19 funds were stashed in Turkey, Dubai, Kenya
In high level investigations that kicked off in January this year, authorities in the United States have popped the lid off what they term the biggest COVID-19 money theft yet.
Several Kenyans have been named as suspects in a scheme where money meant for COVID-19 intervention measures were veered off the U.S government-funded child nutrition program to personal accounts.
U.S Attorney Andrew Luger said: “A scheme that begun with a simple idea in March 2020 grew to become the largest pandemic fraud in the United States.”
A whopping Ksh.30 billion fraudulently benefited individuals instead of starving children in the United States who were struck by the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The more than 47 suspects, Kenyans included, are said to have enriched themselves by buying property in the United States, Turkey, Dubai and Kenya.
Detectives in the U.S managed to freeze close to Ksh.14 billion that was still in various bank accounts linked to the suspects.
Part of the money that found its way into Kenya was used to purchase prime property in South C, South B, and Diani in Kwale County.
According to the investigations, between May 2021 and February this year, properties worth almost Ksh.20 billion were acquired in Kenya by some of the suspects.
In May 2021, Abdiaziz Farah and Abdimajid Nur made a wire transfer of Ksh.60.7 million from Empire Enterprises to Capital View Properties Ltd based in Nairobi for the purchase of property.
In the same month, another suspect listed by the U.S authorities, Abdiwahab Aftin wired Ksh.24.3 million from Bushra Wholesalers to Capital View Properties in Nairobi to acquire real estate property.
In September 2022, Liban Alishire sent Ksh.26.22 million from Hoodo Properties to Jaafar Jelle and company for the purchase of a unit at the Karibu Palms Resort in Diani beach, on the Kenyan Coast.
Alishire further sent Ksh.10.3 million for the purchase of a five-bedroom apartment in Nairobi.
Abdiaziz Shafii also told a co-conspirator that he had invested more than Ksh.728.4 million in Kenya over the three-year period that investigations were being conducted.
Should the suspects be found guilty of the charges of money laundering, conspiracy to defraud, bribery, corruption and wire fraud conspiracy, they will forfeit all the illegally obtained properties and still serve prison time as provided for by the U.S Constitution.
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