In a recent court ruling, Margaret Wanja Muthui, a former deputy director at the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA), has lost a significant number of assets, including 35 apartments and over Sh95 million in cash.

The ruling comes as a culmination of a legal saga that began in 2019 when Muthui successfully petitioned against her transfer from KeRRA to the office of Performance Management and Coordination under the Presidency.

Muthui's troubles escalated when President William Ruto accused her of obstructing her transfer through legal means.

The former deputy director defended her actions, asserting that the move to a new office lacked professional justification, emphasizing her expertise as a senior procurement officer at KeRRA.

The court's decision, delivered by Justice Esther Maina, has far-reaching consequences for Muthui and her associates.

The forfeiture includes 11 apartments in Kileleshwa purchased for Sh264 million in cash and a building in Ruaka with 12 units acquired through proxies during the demonetization process in 2019. The court agreed with the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) that these properties were deemed proceeds of crime.

Justice Maina also directed the forfeiture of money in three bank accounts and an additional 12 units in Ruaka, adding to the financial loss for Muthui.

Properties registered in the names of other individuals, including a house in Nairobi and land in Riruta, Dagoretti, were also seized by the State.

The court scrutinized the involvement of proxies in these transactions, notably a grocery seller from Githurai and others, questioning their role in the acquisition of valuable assets on behalf of Ms. Muthui.

Maina dismissed claims by businessman Abdulwalli Shariff Ahmed, who argued that the properties were purchased on his behalf and his companies.

The judge noted the lack of satisfactory explanations regarding the source of funds and the use of unfamiliar individuals to register these assets.

“It is my finding that the interested party did not offer any explanation as to the source of the funds used to acquire the properties,” Justice Maina said.

In her ruling, Justice Maina emphasized a direct link between Muthui, one of the proxies, and a company named Lighthouse Trading.

The court maintained that these individuals were used to disguise the true ownership of the properties.

The State, through the ARA, will also gain control of the frozen rent generated from the properties since 2021.

The court specified the amounts to be forfeited, including Sh74.7 million in a fixed deposit account at Co-operative Bank of Kenya, Sh13.9 million in another fixed deposit account, and Sh6.7 million in the same bank held in the name of Lighthouse Trading.

Despite Muthui's claims of legitimate income from salaries, allowances, and various business ventures, the court, acting on a tip from the ARA, concluded that the assets were acquired using funds believed to be proceeds of crime.

This legal battle serves as a stark reminder of the consequences individuals may face when their financial dealings come under intense scrutiny.