In a major legal setback, 23-year-old student Felista Nyamathira Njoroge has lost her battle against the Kenyan government over a staggering sum of Shs 2.7 billion (KShs 102 million) in cash gifts bestowed upon her by her Belgian boyfriend, Marc De Mesel.
In a ruling delivered on Thursday, the Kenya High Court declared that the cash gift, touted by De Mesel as Njoroge’s ticket to securing their children’s future, was tainted by allegations of money laundering. De Mesel’s failure to provide a satisfactory explanation for the origin of the funds dealt a decisive blow to Njoroge’s case.
The money made its way into Njoroge’s Co-operative Bank account through four separate transactions between August 4 and 6, 2023. The first transfer, amounting to $229,980, took place on August 4, followed by another hefty sum of $231,980 on August 5. The authorities wasted no time in swiftly seizing the remaining two transfers, totaling $224,980 and $227,980, which were made on August 6.
Further revelations emerged during the court proceedings, indicating that the Belgian benefactor had also dispatched an astonishing KShs 257 million (approximately Shs 6.6 billion) to three other Kenyan women. Tabby Wambuku found herself in possession of a substantial sum of KShs 108 million (Shs 2.9 billion), while Jane Wangui received KShs 49 million (Shs 1.2 billion). Serah Wambui, the final recipient, was entrusted with a staggering KShs 100 million (Shs 2.6 billion).
With De Mesel’s failure to grasp the opportunity to elucidate the source of these funds, Justice Esther Maina left no room for ambiguity in her ruling. The Kenyan government is now empowered to seize the entirety of the money, dealing a severe blow to Njoroge’s aspirations and leaving her without recourse.