The Belgian man at the centre of a Sh600 million case pitting the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) against three Kenya women has put up a spirited defence over accusations that he is involved in money laundering activities.
In documents filed before the court, Marc Freddy De Mesel describes himself as an honest hardworking man with no criminal record in his entire life and wants the money released to the women he claims to be hi lovers so that “they continue enjoying the fruits of being intimate” with him.
He also says the millions of shillings that have raised eyebrows among the security agencies should not be touched as it is meant to secure a “good future lifestyle” for his offsprings.
“l hope that l will give more quality time, love and attention to my children , than l got for myself from my parents. Giving them a rich environment where they can learn a lot, by giving them the freedom to follow their curiosity instead of wanting them to learn what l like or become what l want. I am not interested in forcing them into boring subjects,” Messel states.
Messel who seeks to be enjoined in the case filed by ARA in a bid to freeze the millions of shillings wired to the three women by their Belgian lover, also claims in court that he has certificates of good conduct from Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Belgium police.
He says he made his money through hard and good timing on where and when to invest his money.
“That I would like to confirm on oath that I made my money through sheer hard work, grit and a knack for timing and I should be allowed to prove the same. It is therefore only fair that my application be allowed to enable this Honourable Court interrogate whatever evidence and facts that I will place before before it going to the root of the matter which is source of the funds,” Messel argues in an affidavit filed on his behalf by lawyer Agnel Nadida of Ndindi and Nadida Advocates.
ARA has filed several cash-freeze suits against Felista Nyamathira Njoroge, Tabby Wambuku Kago and Serah Wambui Kamanda and has also obtained temporary preservation orders stopping them from withdrawing the funds, which they claim to be gifts from their lover Messel.
ARA is conducting investigations with an aim to establish the source of the money, claiming that the women could be involved in a complex international money laundering scheme.
Another beneficiary of funds from the Belgium national is Mr Timothy Waigwa, a 22-year-old student at Kirinyaga University who received Sh47 million as a gift.
ARA says Messel also sent money to other women Jane Wangui Kago and Isabel Nyaguthii Wanjohi. Interestingly, Wangui Kago and Wambuku Kago are sisters whom Messel claims met and fell in love with both of them.
Wambuku received Sh108 million, Nyamathira Sh109 million and her sister Wangui Sh49 million while Wambui Kamanda Sh100 million. The women claimed to be in romantic relationships with the Belgium millionaire.
But in his defence through documents filed in court, Nyamathira said ARA was invading her privacy since the money was a gift from her lover Messel, whom she said had also made her pregnant. She also said she acquired the money genuinely through her relationship and businesses.
Wangui on her part has indicated that the Sh49 million “gift” was meant to boost her salon and clothes business in Ruiru, Kiambu county.
She says that she opened the Euro account in July 2021 for purposes of receiving the funds from Messel.
Wangui claims that Messel was a boyfriend of her sister (Wambuku) and had resided with her in Ruiru before acquiring an apartment at Garden City on Thika Road.
He later flew out of the country and has been sending money to them, she said.
And in his papers, Messel paints himself in a picture of a serious investor who has been dealing cryptocurrency and tesla as a well as a man out to ensure that his children lead a comfortable life in future.
“That the continual mention and making of unsubstantiated allegations of being a money launderer by ARA has tainted my reputation and credibility in the eyes of right thinking members of the public both locally and internationally and continues to cause my stature to be defamed, soiled and undermined whereas I have not been accorded an opportunity to present my facts and evidence before any investigative body, tribunal or competent court,” he states in his replying affidavit.
He accuses ARA of allegedly failing to summon him to shed light on the source of his money before moving to court to freeze money he voluntarily sent to his lovers and their relatives.
While exonerating the women from any blame, the Belgian says it is only him who can “explicitly” explain the source of the funds and the intention of sending it.
“That I was personally never summoned to give an explanation of my wealth but I expressed my willingness to provide all proof necessary to exonerate me from any wrong doing. My willingness to do so was communicated to ARA through my advocates on record,” he states.
To absolve himself from claims of being involved in money laundering, Messel tabled a certificate of good conduct from the DCI number 464264/2021 dated February 5, 2021 and another one from the Belgian Federal Public Service giving him a clean bill of health.
He says his money cannot be considered to be a form of money laundering as its source and intentions are known and transactions conducted in an open and transparent money.