Cars seized in graft war losing value
Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) says movable assets like luxury cars seized from suspects linked to corruption are depreciating fast and would be difficult to auction the properties.
Muthoni Kimani, the director of ARA, told Parliament that the movable assets, such as top of the range vehicles are depreciating at a fast pace.
Dozens of Kenyan government officials and business people have appeared in court since May on charges relating to the alleged theft of hundreds of millions of shillings from public coffers in a new drive to tackle widespread graft.
This has seen the state freeze hundreds of millions in bank account and halt transfer of assets such as homes, land and luxury cars like Jeep, Range Rover and Mercedes Benz—which are lying at police stations pending conclusion of the cases.
“We have the challenge of depreciation in terms of movable assets like vehicles that we have recovered as part of proceeds of crime and corruption,” Ms Kimani told the Senate committee on Justice and Legal Affairs
“These vehicles and other movable assets are exhibits which we can’t dispose off without evidence being adduced in court.”
The ARA and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) have managed to secure freeze orders for properties such as land, palatial houses and top of the range vehicles that are suspected to have been procured through proceeds of corruption.
“A rough estimates of what we have recovered indicates that we have at least been able to trace assets worth Sh300 million in banks and restricted properties worth more than Sh2 billion,” Ms Kimani said.
She said the process of recovering the looted assets is long as it requires the agency to seek court to secure orders for search and seizure of the proceeds of corruption.
On Monday, senior officials from the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) and National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) were charged for abuse of office and economic crimes that led to the loss of billions of shillings from the two institutions.
This included Joe Sang, the managing director of KPC, and five of his colleagues. Geoffrey Mwangi, the chief executive of NHIF, his predecessor and 16 other officials were also charged.
ARA is said to have profiled the assets of the accused and business associates, setting the stage for the agency to seek court orders to freeze the assets.