Mabel Mark (born in Kakamega with maiden name Lusanji Muruli) and Joshua Kulei former Personal assistant to former President Daniel Arap Moi planned to buy an airline in Kenya.
SHE was the boss of an asylum seeker housing firm which received £18 million in taxpayer funding before being forced into liquidation because of unpaid debts.
He was the African billionaire who had gone from prison warder to be a leading figure in the Kenyan Government.
Now the extraordinary links between Mabel Mark (born in Kakamega with maiden name Lusanji Muruli) and Joshua Kulei can be revealed for the first time.
They include details of how Mrs Mark and her asylum firm, Kimberley Group Housing Group (KGHL), received £1 million from the wealthy Kenyan – to help buy an AIRLINE in Africa.
The money was transferred in a series of payments into her personal and company accounts, with £125,000 later used as the deposit on a Cessna.
But the airline, called Mabel Air, never got off the ground while Mrs Mark’s asylum housing company is now in liquidation.
She claims her £10 million-plus assets have also been frozen as part of an ongoing investigation by the UK Border Agency (UKBA).
Home Office reports claim investigators discovered KGHL was unable to meet its trading liabilities, owed considerable sums to sub-contractors and utilities suppliers and had no proper systems in place to manage liabilities.
The firm was also accused of failing to maintain proper records and there was said to be ‘‘substantial intermingling of personal and corporate assets and monies without regard to the claims of corporate creditors.”
But Mrs Mark, 48, denied doing anything wrong in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Mercury. ‘‘I have nothing to hide,” she said.
‘‘I’ve had accountants and bank managers look at all my accounts and not a single one of them complained about how they were being run.
‘‘The police are not investigating me. They found nothing.’’
Mabel Mark was a national success story in her native Kenya.
The former teacher came to the UK in the mid-1990s and in 2003 launched KGHL, providing accommodation for 1,200 asylum seekers across the country, including at houses in Coventry and Nottingham.
For the first three years profit was modest. But the firm hit the jackpot after winning a Home Office contract to house asylum seekers and unaccompanied children who had entered the country.
In total, KGHL received £6.1 million a year between May 2006 and January 2009 – when the company lost its contract following a UKBA probe.
The firm was placed in compulsory liquidation by the Inland Revenue in June last year over an unpaid £45,000 tax bill.
Mrs Mark enjoyed a meteoric rise from a primary school teacher in her Kenyan homeland to a wealthy businesswoman after setting up KGHL in Wembley, London.
At one point she boasted her company owned 60 houses across the UK, as well as 10 apartments in Florida and acres of land on both sides of the Atlantic.
Her personal wealth was such that she eventually looked to set up her own Kenyan airline with Joshua Kulei.
The billionaire began his working life as a prison warder. But he went on to become a powerful aide to controversial Kenyan ex-president, Daniel Arap Moi.
Kulei is permanently banned from travelling to the USA, a move explained last year by the US ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger.
He said: “Joshua Kulei is connected to an awful lot of people in high office. That is why we added him to the list of those permanently ineligible to enter the US.
‘‘We know Joshua Kulei is not in government but he is highly connected.’’
Kulei is currently facing historical fraud charges in Kenya, along with several others. He denies all the allegations.
Mrs Mark says she began looking at launching Mabel Air as uncertainty grew about her Government contracts.
She told the Sunday Mercury: ‘‘When I saw the injustice of the Home Office and the way they were treating me, I thought: ‘What am I going to do’?
‘‘I went to Kenya and found someone and they agreed to work with me. That gentleman’s name was Joshua Kulei.
‘‘I had met him a number of times in the last 10 years. He was interested in airlines but could not get an air licence.
‘‘He gave me £1 million. It went through the British banks and he transferred money from his bank in Nairobi.’’
When asked how much money was paid by Mr Kulei into the KGHL company account, she said: ‘‘£200,000. The other money he had given me earlier, sometimes it came into my personal account.
‘‘We agreed everything should be done here (in the UK) as I could not always be going to Africa for meetings.’’
Mrs Mark later paid £125,000 from her personal account for a deposit on the Cessna Caravan. She said: ‘‘Everything I ever did was clean and I always sought advice.
‘‘But we never got the airplane and the airline is not running. It was never set up in the end.
‘‘I have lost millions of pounds, I have lost money on my properties. I have got depression and ulcers, and I don’t move from the house.’’
The businesswoman says her legal team is now looking at counter-suing the Home Office for the loss of her asylum seeker contract.
She also claimed she and her company had been targeted by Government surveillance operations.
‘‘I was bugged, my phones were bugged and I was being followed,’’ Mrs Mark said.
‘‘Now I have lost everything, everything I’ve ever worked for.’’
A UK Border Agency spokeswoman said: ‘‘The contract with Kimberley Group for the provision of accommodation for asylum seekers was terminated in January 2009 because the company was deemed to be insolvent and could not provide the services we had contracted with them.
“The UK Border Agency investigation was concluded and information was passed to the Metropolitan Police to consider whether any further action was appropriate. The Metropolitan Police decided not to proceed any further.
“The company is now in liquidation and the UK Border Agency is liaising with the appointed liquidator to recover its losses.”