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Fraud Scandal: MozzartBet Fights $2.6-Million Seizure Transferred Through M-Pesa

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MozzartBet, a betting company, has returned to court to fight the Kenyan State against the seizure of Sh302-million ($2.6-million) that was declared to have been acquired through alleged crime.

According to Business Daily, the company says that the millions are meant to buy software that’s meant to upgrade the betting firm. It says it had already paid Sh256-million ($2.2-million) which was part of the amount that was seized and forfeited to the State.

Justice Esther Maina ruled in April that the money was held in three bank accounts as part of an alleged money-laundering scheme supported by payments through M-Pesa. Maina declared that the money had to be forfeited to the government, as a result.

Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) launched a petition indicating that the money was not generated from gambling under MozzartBet. The agency said that the unclear source and wiring of the cash to a web of accounts, as well MozzartBet and to shareholders, point to a money-laundering scheme.

MozzartBet is now appealing to the court as a counterattack to the petition.

“Should its appeal succeed, the interested party (MozzartBet) will face serious, potentially insurmountable, hurdles recovering them, given, what is a matter of public notoriety, the process of recovering judgments against the government and its agencies,” the company wrote in an application.

“As a first instance court, which is not infallible and given that the interested party has a right to appeal, this court has got both the jurisdiction and in an appropriate case, a duty to preserve the subject matter of such an appeal by granting such interim relief as may be appropriate,” it said.

The ARA dismissed MozzartBet’s explanation that it paid the money to acquire from Kimaco Connections a software, according to Business Daily.

Peter Kiilu, the owner of Kimaco Connections, allegedly wired Sh242-million ($2.1-million) to Open Skies Management Services. Open Skies Management Services is owned by Zimbabwean Emmanuel Charumbira and a shareholder of Mozzartbet.

By Zintle Nkohla 

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