Kilifi-based preacher Ezekiel Odero has pleaded with a Milimani court to allow him access Sh50 million in his frozen bank accounts for the running of the church and an international school he operates.
Mr Odero says in the application that the freezing of the more than 25 bank accounts has caused ‘extreme financial and logistical hardship’ to the operations of New Life Prayer Centre and Church as well as Kilifi International School.
The bank accounts were frozen on May 8 by a Milimani court following an application by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) as it probes money laundering claims.
The freeze order will last for 30 days.
“The financial overheads of running the New Life Prayer Center and Church and Kilifi International School cannot wait for the lapsing of 30 days as directed by honourable court,” Mr Odero said in an affidavit.
Mr Odero said through his lawyer Danstan Omari that the cash flow occasioned by the freeze was affecting workers and students.
The preacher said the church supports over 2,000 needy students who draw their school fees from frozen bank accounts and might miss paying the second term fees.
He further said the police did not give valid reasons to necessitate the freezing of the bank accounts.
“This unjust and irrational course of action constitutes an abuse of their investigative powers,” Mr Omari submitted.
The court ordered the branch managers at Co-operative Bank, NCBA, Equity, KCB, HFC and telecom Safaricom, not to allow the transfer or withdrawal of the funds for one month.
“Whereas it has been proven to this honourable court on oath that for the purpose of investigation into the commission of offences of money laundering contrary to sections 3, 4 and 7 of the Pocamla Act, it is necessary and desirable to issue the following orders,” the court ruled.
Pocamla is the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2009.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) claimed the preacher has been receiving huge transactions, suspected to be proceeds of illicit cash.
The police said in the application that they suspected the money was from victims radicalised and made to sell their properties and surrender the proceeds to the preacher.
The police also believe that Mr Odero has links to controversial preacher Paul Mackenzie, who is in custody after more than 100 bodies were retrieved from an expansive farm in Shakahola, where he runs his Good News International Church.
Mr Mackenzie is under investigation over claims of helping people to kill themselves, aiding suicide, murder, abduction, radicalisation, genocide, crimes against humanity, child cruelty, fraud and money laundering.
Mr Odero has dismissed any links or connections to Mr Mackenzie.
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