The Court of Appeal put on hold the government’s plan to seize the property belonging to Joseph Wanjohi and Jane Wambui.
In February 2020, Justice Mumbi Ngugi had directed the Assets and Recovery Agency to recover the property after the duo were accused of drug and wildlife trafficking.
While delivering her ruling, she indicated that it was to serve as a deterrent to anyone else participating in such illicit trades.
â€œWe know the damage crime of narcotic drugs has brought on families and devastation caused the trade in wildlife trophies. We canâ€™t overemphasize on determent of such illegal trade. We must ensure they donâ€™t enjoy the proceeds of such crimes,â€ she stated.
The duo, in their appeal, lamented that they explained their source of wealth and the court failed to acknowledge their statement.
Appellate judges argued that Mumbi based her decision on false allegations of an investigating officer without proof that the assets were proceeds of crime.
While making the ruling to overturn Justice Mumbi’s decision, Appellate judges Wanjiru Karanja, Agnes Murgor and Martha Koome said that the couple had demonstrated that the case needed to be listened to.
They added that their decision would be a landmark ruling as it may affect other rulings that will be made on assets and recovery cases.
The judges further said that it would be better to temporarily stop ARA from seizing the property until the case is heard.
They based their judgement on the fact that it would be difficult to return the property to the duo once it is in the hands of the state agency.
A date for mentioning will be set by the Court of Appeal.