Kenyan betting giant MozzartBet has approached the court to oppose an application by the State to seize Sh302 million in revenue. The revenue had been declared proceeds of alleged criminal activities. 

MozzartBet said the money had been allocated towards upgrading the betting provider. An amount of Sh256 million had already been allocated for this when the funds were grabbed by the State.  

Criminal Proceeds, Rules Court

The court ruled in April that the money had been held in three separate bank accounts. The funds had been generated by a money-laundering scheme involving payments received via M-Pesa. 

According to Justice Esther Maina, the money had been seized by the government because of its criminal attachments. 

A recent petition launched by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) claims that the money had not been generated from gambling proceeds via MozzartBet. Instead, the agency believes that the source of the funds remains unclear. This, they say, is indicative of a money-laundering scheme

Consequences Could be Extreme

According to a statement released by MozzartBet, should its appeal succeed, there will be massive ramifications for the public. The top betting site said a successful appeal would be followed by a process of recovery against the government and its agents. 

MozzartBet also appears to be resting its application to appeal on the fact that the relevant court has the necessary jurisdiction to decide the outcome of the matter. It is now seeking interim relief from the judicial process. 

According to ARA, MozzartBet’s claim that the money had been paid to acquire a software upgrade from Kimaco Connections, is false. 

It is now being alleged that Kimaco Connections owner, Peter Kiilu, transferred the money by wire transfer to Open Skies Management Services. The latter is owned by a shareholder of MozzartBet, namely Emmanuel Charumbira. 

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