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Kenya’s stolen billions hidden in 7 countries

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The Government of Kenya has written to at least seven countries seeking details on billions of shillings suspected to be stashed abroad by influential individuals, including prominent politicians and businessmen.

In a decisive step that marks renewed efforts after previous failed attempts to recover money hidden abroad, top officials have told the Sunday Nation there will soon be nowhere to hide for those who have attempted to avoid scrutiny of local bank accounts by hiding money in foreign countries, some of which have a dubious reputation as safe havens for ill-gotten wealth.

On Saturday, two separate sources from institutions charged with fighting graft confirmed that the Attorney-General had written to seven countries seeking information about bank accounts and assets in the names of Kenyan citizens, which are suspected to have been proceeds of corruption. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations are involved in the process and are said to be cross-checking details they hold about prominent individuals.

While EACC deputy CEO Michael Mubea acknowledged requests had been made to a number of countries for co-operation in the investigations, he declined to provide further details that could threaten bilateral relationships.

“We have made certain requests to certain countries and we are hoping for the best,” Mr Mubea said.

Another source who requested to speak in confidence expressed shock at what the preliminary interactions with the countries where monies are hidden were revealing.

“We are on the right path and we have gained access to accounts that we have never even heard of in the past. Some of the countries we have reached out to have never featured in our radar, ever,” the source said, pointing to the great lengths the corrupt are going to hide their loot.

It is the work of the Multi-Agency Taskforce that includes EACC, the National Treasury, the Kenya Revenue Authority, the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) and the DCI.

Attorney-General Paul Kihara, who we were told was directly involved in the matter, did not respond to our queries.

The Sunday Nation has learnt that some of the foreign jurisdictions the government could have approached include Dubai that has lately become attractive to Kenyans who want to hide their wealth, United Kingdom, Mauritius and Switzerland.

“Already, a number of assets that belong to Kenyans have been traced to the UK, especially in London. Dubai is the other place,” our source, who has links to the Multi-Agency Taskforce, said.

In recent weeks, Australia has also emerged as one of the destinations the corrupt are going to hide their loot.

This emerged after the money trail led investigators to Australia as they investigated Migori Governor Okoth Obado. Investigators allege that the governor and his children travelled to Australia carrying Sh4.5 million, part of which EACC discovered could have been laundered at a casino in Australia.

Kenya has this year signed agreements with United Kingdom and Switzerland, the Framework for the Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime in Kenya, whose ultimate aim is to have a structured way of engaging in helping with the recovery of ill-acquired wealth stashed in their territories. Jersey is also expected to sign the deal.

“The countries we have signed pacts with have agreed to co-operate with us in doing the investigations,” Ms Muthoni Kimani, who heads the Asset Recovery Agency, said.

An amnesty period issued by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich that ended in July saw no one come forward to declare that they have foreign bank accounts despite a new report by National Bureau of Economic Research, a US-based think-tank, showing that Sh5 trillion is held in offshore accounts.

The amnesty was applicable to those who have unknown business and bank accounts abroad.

nation.co.ke

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The Sun is now Setting on your Chance to be Part of Amani Ridge the Place of Peace

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With only 26 plots measuring 1/4 acres remaining, the window to own a plot of land at Amani Ridge the Place of Peace is now closing. As this is happening, the cost of these plots is now set to move up by 20%.

Here is the good news though; you still have a chance to secure your property before this change takes effect.

As this window slowly closes, the value additions are tripling as we are now headed to start internal roads murruming before we finally lay cabro on the same streets. On the other hand, the Kenya Power contract to lay underground power is right on the heels.

At the same time, the Razor Wire installation on Wall of Happiness and Wall not Knowledge (1.4Km in length) is also set to start next week.

Meanwhile, we are heartily celebrating the completion of the four walls surrounding this top gated community in Kiambu (Wall of Peace, Wall of Wisdom, Wall of Happiness and Wall of Knowledge).

As we share this update, the laying of paving blocks (cabro) on a one acre gate-area is ongoing as you see on the accompanying photo.

This cabro works on the estate’s driveway has been designed to give all families and visitors coming into this gated community an inviting welcome.

Do you want to know how to be part of Optiven Family?

Call us now: 0790300300 or 0723400500
Website: www.optiven.co.ke

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What’s Happening at Victory Gardens – Kitengela

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Effectiveness of Gated Communities in Providing Safe Environments for Childrens’ Outdoor Convenience

Due to safety factors, children use of outdoor spaces can be limited.

Victory Gardens, a residential gated community with access control and guarded area has been deliberately developed to give parents peace of mind as they get about their daily business without worrying so much about the safety of their children.

The Children’ Play Park along Mwangaza Avenue was also designed with children that are brought up in this gated community in mind.

This project’s Care Taker, Mr. Ondiek and his team have a brief to make sure that the grass is well manicured to make this space as safe as possible for children.

Why not secure a site visit and invest in your children future?

Call us on: 0790300300 or 0723400500
Website: www.optiven.co.ke

 

~Experience the difference ~

 

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The road less travelled

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According to a June 2020 study by Flone Initiative, women make up 10 per cent of the work force in the public transport industry in the country, 85 per cent of them being matatu conductors in Nairobi; it is no longer a male-dominated job. However,

“I used to ride the so-called nganyas to school every day, and being that I am a social and open-minded person, I would interact with the accomodating personnel and with time, I deeply fell in love with the unique culture that is the Kenyan matatu industry,” she tells PD Wikendi. A daughter of Italian parents who met and got married in Kenya, Lucia is thankful to have been born and bred in this country with an atypical public transport sector, which would become her biggest passion.

After completing high school, she joined Montessori College in Nairobi to pursue teaching, a course she did not complete, as what she desired was to work as a tout. However, she would again proceed to pursue a certificate in pharmacy, which is her mother’s profession. In 2015, Lucia ditched her pharmacy career and decided to follow her heart, becoming a full-time makanga in Kitengela, a route she says she felt comfortable in, being that she was serving people she grew up around.

Lucia recalls how at first, residents of Kitengela, seeing a mzungu on the matatu door calling on passengers to board, were certain it was a prank. “In my first days, people were dumbfounded, wondering if it was a stunt. They even became reluctant to board the vehicle, as they thought that maybe there was a hidden camera somewhere recording the ‘prank’. No one believed a mlami could take this job, but, eventually, they realised it was for real and got used to it,” she recounts.

The venture was fraught with challenges for her; not only was she a woman in a rough man’s world, but also a ‘foreigner’. “Some commuters felt they could get aggressive towards me, for example when disgruntled by what they found to be high fares. Dealing with a rude passenger who does not want to cooperate and respect my hustle is still among my worst moments while in the line of duty. Some passengers like to show that they are allknowing. Again, there were instances where people thought I don’t understand Swahili or sheng, which I speak fluently, so they would throw jabs at me, but I never let it get to me. If you are a strong woman who respects herself and you understand that this is a job like any other, there is no situation that would be too difficult to manoeuvre. Women are many in the industry these days, and people now take it as a normal thing,” adds Lucia, who currently works in Crisis of Wamasaa Sacco.

PANDEMIC STRUGGLE
At the moment, the Covid-19 pandemic, which has really hamstrung their work, is

it is still unusual to meet a woman nganya crewmember. It is even rarer to meet one from a different race. But, the well known Lucia Alessandra Murotto, a Caucasian woman conductor, never saw these as barriers to stop her from following her passion. Walking along Nairobi’s Railways bus terminus, where Kitengela matatus are stationed, you will likely meet the 29-year-old shouting herself hoarse calling for passengers, a job she has now served in for over five years.

Growing up in Kitengela, Kajiado county, Lucia, famously known as Mlami by the area residents owing to her Italian origin, never prayed for something bigger in her future than serving in the matatu industry. Her desire to join the sector grew while she was still in high school, when the single mother of one used to commute daily to school, boarding the renowned decorated matatus of the vibrant route 110 Kitee, and got to interact with the friendly crews.

FALLING IN LOVE

the biggest issue that, like others in the sector, she’s dealing with on the job. “We are only carrying 60 per cent of the bus capacity, so, hitting the profit target becomes an uphill task. To cope, investors have sadly been forced to send some crewmembers home, and we’ve also had to raise fares so as to at least remain afloat,” she explains.

Challenges aside, what Lucia loves the most about her job is how the crews she works with are humble and understanding. “We live like one big family, sticking by each other through thick and thin. We are always there for one another, be it during funerals, weddings, when one of our colleagues gets a child, even birthdays, we come together and offer support,” she beams.

When not filling matatus with passengers and collecting fares, the last-born in a family of two daughters helps her mum out at her pharmacy in Kisaju. Meanwhile, the nganya culture enthusiasm has rubbed of on her nine-year-old son, who she says knows almost all the Kitengela hot mats by name.

For now, it appears Lucia is in it for the long haul. “I have been dreaming of investing in the matatu industry since I was 16. I would love to take my matatu to Kitengela, Rongai or even Eastleigh, since I have worked on the three routes and I know their ins and outs, ” she concludes.

By PD.co.ke

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