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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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Business

JKIA ranked second fastest growing in air cargo globally

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Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has been ranked as the second fastest growing airport in the latest world cargo ranking for airports that handled more than 250,000 metric tonnes of air cargo.

This was revealed in the Airports Council International (ACI) latest World Airport Traffic Report, which highlights top airports for passengers, cargo and aircraft movements and showcases the world’s fastest growing airports for 2018

JKIA was only beaten by Rockford, an expansive air cargo hub in the United States, which was the fastest-growing airport in 2018 as the e-commerce freight hub for online retail giant Amazon.

According to the report, JKIA was ranked second in the ‘Fastest Growing Airports category, after it handled more than 342,000 metric tons of air cargo in 2018, marking a 25% growth from 2017.

Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has credited the notable growth at JKIA to substantial increase in air cargo traffic to and from Europe, Asia, America as well as recent additions China and Australia.

KAA also said the country’s biggest airport has recently transformed its air cargo management and also embraced participation of public and private sectors hence its improvement in global standing.

The authority said the construction of several modern transit sheds at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has seen the airport’s overall cargo grow to 1.2million tons annually.

“This is an exciting time for Kenya, the face of cargo is changing, and we are positioning JKIA as the premier cargo distribution center for online commerce companies in the region,” said KAA CEO Jonny Anderson.

Hong Kong International Airport, Memphis International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Incheon International Airport and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport lead in total cargo volumes respectively.

The report further found that, in total, the world’s airports accommodated 8.8 billion passengers, 122.7 million metric tonnes of cargo, and 99.9 million aircraft movements.

JKIA currently handles an estimated 6.5 million passengers annually.

BY Nairobi News

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Business

VIDEO: Chairlady of Kenya North America Diaspora Sacco K-NADS visits Mahiga Homes Projects

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Mahiga Homes Company continues to attract the attention of Kenyans living in the US and other countries in around the world following the successful completion of various projects in record time and handing over the keys to the owners.

Recently, the Chairlady of  Kenya North America Diaspora Sacco (K-NADS) Dr. Lucy Ndegwa Mackenzie, paid a courtesy visit to the company’s projects in Ruiru and Kenyatta road  and she expressed her satisfaction with the work they have undertaken so far.

“It is a great project especially because the roads really good,” said Dr Mackenzie.

Rock Gardens Ruiru‘s construction progress is on course. Some units are at foundation while most of them are at walling level and others at roofing level. The estate comprises of 75 luxurious 3 bedroom bungalows.

“As you will see in the video below, she was very impressed by the good work the trusted developer is doing, Said Peter Nyaga,” the Company’s CEO.

The projects currently on sale are:

Rockvilla III Estate in Joska. Deposit Ksh 1.6M

Osoit II Gardens in Kitengela: Deposit Ksh 1.7M.

The Riverfront in Ruiru: Deposit Ksh 2M.

 

K-NADS  currently has of over 1000 members women living in or has returned to Kenya from North America.

For more info Call/WhatsApp +254720460413

or visit www.mahigahomes.co.ke

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Business

Firm that sold DP Ruto Weston hotel land speaks out

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A travel agency has defended the ownership of the piece of land on which Nairobi’s Weston Hotel stands, arguing that the title deed was acquired legally and that the airports regulator has no claim to the property.

In documents filed in court, Priority Limited says the title to the land was obtained in good faith, is legitimate and cannot be faulted through the petition or any other case.

Through the law firm of Katwa & Kemboy, the company says that being the registered owner of the parcel serves as conclusive evidence of ownership.

The company has further stated that the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has no “worthy evidence,” to claim ownership of the land hosting hotel associated with Deputy President William Ruto.

KCAA has filed a suit in court seeking to reclaim the land and has opposed a deal between Weston and the National Land Commission (NLC) for the hotel to compensate the authority so that it can continue occupying the land.

In the case filed in June, KCAA said NLC did not have the jurisdiction to preside over the complaint on compensation for the land, and wants the hotel demolished and the property handed back to it.

Based on fraud

Priority Limited was allocated the land that was later transferred to Weston in a deal that KCAA says was based on fraud.

In response to the KCAA petition, Priority Ltd has denied allegations of fraud on the title, arguing that KCAA is yet to table documents in court as proof of the fraud.

The company has also contested KCAA demands for revocation of the title deed, arguing that the authority is motivated by ulterior motives.

Records at the registry show that Priority Limited is owned by Paul Chirchir and Mathews Otieno, and has filed with the State documents revealing who are its bankers, auditors and lawyers.

KCAA said under section 14 of the NLC Act, the commission’s mandate to review grants and terms of public land expired five years from commencement date of the Act, which was May 12, 2012.

It therefore argued that the commission’s mandate to review grants and dispositions of public land expired in May 2017.

Deal brokered

The agency filed the case to challenge the deal brokered between NLC and the owners of Weston Hotel.

“NLC had no powers to review grants and dispositions by January 25, 2019, which is more than one year eight months late. This suggests deliberate delay by the NLC to frustrate the KCAA,” reads part of the pleadings filed in court.

In the decision, delivered on January 25, 2019, NLC recognised and emphasised KCAA’s entitlement to the piece of land remained unchallenged and noted that Weston Hotel and the initial owners of the land, Priority Ltd and Monene Investments Ltd, irregularly procured the registration of the land. It then ordered the company to compensate KCAA.

But in the papers filed in court by James Orengo and Otiende Amollo, KCAA insists that it owns the land and any entity with a different title procured it through illegality, fraud and corruption.

BY Business Daily

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