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Kenya leads peers as key hub for dirty cash



Kenya has been ranked among the leading African nations that record-high illicit financial flows, according to a new UN report. At position 24 globally, Kenya is ahead of Nigeria (34), Angola (35), Egypt (46), Mauritius (51), Cameroon (53) and South Africa (58).

The country has also recorded the second largest amount in returned stolen assets to African countries as at January 2020. At Sh17 billion, Kenya is third behind Libya (Sh14.2 billion) and Nigeria, which commands a strong lead at Sh1.4 trillion in recovered stolen cash as of early this year.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Economic Development in Africa Report 2020 on illicit financial flows said the continent loses Sh8.9 trillion annually in capital flight.

This value is larger than the Sh4.8 trillion the continent collects in overseas development aid and the Sh5.4 trillion in foreign direct investment each year.

The report, presented by UNCTAD Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi in Nairobi last week, blames a gap between the desire of policymakers for capital openness and the level actually observed.

“Illicit financial flows strip government treasuries of needed resources for development expenditure. The report’s findings confirm that such financial flows are high in Africa and have been increasing over time,” said Dr Kituyi.

“African countries also need to engage much more in the international arena, including in the reforms of the international taxation system, to make it more relevant to the challenges Africa faces in the 21st Century.”

The report tracks trade statistics, primarily imports and exports data from African countries dating back to 2012 – giving a stark picture of the aftermath from African countries’ liberalising their capital accounts and increasing their linkage to global financial markets.

“At dinner parties in capital cities around the world, the world’s cosmopolitan elite compare notes on the best schools, the least-polluted cities, the alarming spread of insecurity, the threat of populism, and the latest on tax havens,” says the report.

“In a parallel reality, when educated men and women from the world’s disillusioned middle class meet, from the suburbs of industrialised countries to the compounds of African cities, they share common concerns about the future of their children, deep misgivings about inequality, injustice and a growing resentment towards the prosperous elite.”

Kenya is named adversely in the report and is highest among non-resource economies on the continent as a source and transit of illicit financial flows.

According to the Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA) that measures the level of secrecy in economies and their facilitative role in enabling money laundering and tax evasion, Kenya is ranked top in African countries.

The report says corruption, embezzlement and misappropriation of property and funds by public officials, active and passive trading in influence are some of the channels through which illicit financial flows (IFFs) are amassed.

“Graft can be an enabler of IFFs by compromising the institutions tasked with anti-money-laundering obligations,” it explains in part.

“Entities with anti-money-laundering obligations may collude with clients not to fulfill their obligations or financial intelligence units may be prevented from performing their function by not being provided with sufficient independence, legal powers and resources.”

Kenya has also been flagged for having several tax treaties, including one with Mauritius that is being challenged by the Tax Justice Network Africa as facilitative in tax evasion and capital flight from the country.

This is worsened by a lack of a robust legal regime to effectively prosecute and deter the culprits. “In other two cases, respectively in Kenya and Zambia, the courts ruled that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development guidelines can be used by taxpayers for transfer price calculation, although these rules are not part of the domestic legal system,” says the report.

“Interestingly the court in Kenya expressed its concern about the lack of relevant transfer pricing rules in the judgment and said that while ‘unfortunately our Act is silent on such methods to be employed or used, the court hoped that KRA would lead in the initiative to make rules in this regard.”

Kenya’s proposal to introduce a digital taxation system was, however, cited as one of the policy reforms African governments are using to address the problem.

Anti-money-laundering regulations were also cited as a step in the right direction. Kenya’s Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act (2009) has helped regulators and prosecutors to track, trace and seize wealth made from the corruption.


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Introducing Baba Mboga



If you told Sydney Muhando last year that he would be running a fresh produce grocery city business, he definitely would not have agreed.

The online comedian and drama teacher who is also a video editor was on stage with his trainees in a competition when the first case of Covid-19 was announced in the country.

This was followed by indefinite closure of schools. For him, he knew it would only take a few days before schools reopen. It has now taken six months for candidates to resume their studies.

In the same period, Mr Muhando has grown his online business, Baba Mboga Deliveries, a name he says he chose because of its uniqueness.

Every morning, he wakes up at dawn to go to Wangige Market, one of the largest markets in Kiambu County where he gets assorted fruits and vegetables.

He then sorts them according to what has been ordered and packages them in bags ready to deliver to his customers doorsteps.

Social media pages

Most of the time, people especially in urban residential areas purchase their vegetables and other fresh products from local shops just near their homes commonly known as ‘Mama Mboga’.

“I stayed for two months without a job and life became difficult and  I knew I could not sustain myself for long. My friend had been sending me to the market to get grocery for him at a fee and that is how I identified the gap,”  he says.

With a capital of Sh800 and running short of time, the 28-year-old started purchasing more food from the market, posting them on his social media pages to let his friends know about it. He then delivers them to his customers.

He explains that being a city, many residents hardly get time to go to the market, especially to get traditional or indigenous vegetables. There is also a growing culture for online shopping among Nairobi residents.

“In a city like Nairobi, most people are busy, so I took advantage of that to serve them in their own houses. Many people, were also scared of going to crowded market places fearing that they would contract the disease,”  he says.

Free delivery

For months, Mr Muhando has garnered a huge following both on Facebook and Instagram.

But it is not that easy to open and run social media pages for a full-time online business. Most businesses find it difficult to produce content to market their products.

Luckily, for Mr Muhando who is an online comedian, anything to do with technology is not so hard for him. It only took an hour to create and set up his Facebook account.

“It takes witty captions and for you to have a good camera. It is also important to post the prices. Without seeing the prices, the customers will not be interested in the products, especially if it’s a small business,”  he adds.

He additionally posts the menu for his vegetables, with various discounts to attract customers including free delivery for those purchasing goods worth more than Sh1,000.

To have a variety and almost everything one needs in their kitchen, Baba Mboga apart from greens and fruits also sells spices such as ginger, garlic and onions, with starches such as sweet potatoes and arrowroots as well as eggs.

Invest in branding 

To grow his business, Mr Muhando says it was important to invest in branding for his audience to take it seriously.

He targets families and the busy clientele who could be at work or travelling. On a good day, he makes up to Sh2,000 after delivery.

In his recent innovation, as it is by some business owners who want to add value to their products, he has also introduced the bachelors package, where the traditional vegetables, which usually take time to be made are picked and sorted for easy preparation.

He also does extra services including chopping onions, tomatoes and preparing fruits or vegetables depending on the customer’s orders. Afterwards, he packs them in a branded reusable shopping bag.

As his business expands, Mr Muhando has sought partners who work with him, one, who is in charge of transport and deliveries while another is in charge of a walk-in store he is putting up.

Major challenge 

His major challenge is finding the balance between the cost he uses to purchase the vegetables and delivering them at the customer’s doorstep.

“Since my customers are spread all over, the main issue is balancing the delivery that it does not eat into  my  profits. Competition is also high since more people are now tapping into this business so it requires a lot of improvement and incentives for the customers,”  he says.

Mr Muhando plans to expand his business and even have a walk in store, such as the popular Zucchini, which will in turn create employment for more people as his contribution to the country’s economy.

His advises to young people who unfortunately lost their jobs during the pandemic, “look for other jobs or set up your own businesses,  however small”.

“Keep trying, remember quality service is your biggest advertising,” says Mr Muhando.


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Shock after man kills son before taking his own life



Residents of a Naivasha village woke up to rude shock after a middle-aged man killed his three-year-old son before hanging himself on a tree.

The man strangled his son in Kipkonyo Village while the mother was away before committing suicide, plunging the area into mourning.

Tears flowed freely as relatives and friends tried to come to terms with the incident before police moved in to collect the two bodies.

Record statement

The 30-year-old man, after killing his son, threw the body into a latrine under construction before stripping naked and hanging himself.

Naivasha police boss Samuel Waweru confirmed the incident, adding that security officers had collected the two bodies and opened an inquest.

He said they would be seeking the wife who was not present during the incident to record a statement as part of their investigations.

“Initial investigations indicate that the man first killed his son by twisting his neck and dumping the body in the family latrine before using a rope to hang himself,” said the police boss.

A neighbour, Isaac Lang’at, said the deceased had for a long time clashed with his wife leading to a separation before he decided to kill himself.


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Meet young Kenyan lady playing key role in Joe Biden’s presidential campaign



Esther Ongeri, a young Kenyan living in the US is the talk of the town after Kenyans learnt that she plays a key role in the Joe Biden presidential campaign.

According to Biden’s campaign website, Ms Ongeri is the Director of Special Projects in the Biden 2020 campaign and has served in the position since July.

Previously, she worked as the Executive Assistant to the Campaign Manager and Special Projects Coordinator in the same campaign team from June 2019.

Ms Ongeri held the posts of operations coordinator from September 2017 to February 2018 and special projects assistant to the CFO from February 2018.

She is an alumnus of Saint Peter’s University in New Jersey where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in political science and government in 2017.

According to her LinkedIn profile, the brilliant Kenyan was a staff assistant to New Jersey senator Robert Menendez between May 2016 and July 2017.

Ms Ongeri started off as an intern in the office of Senator Menendez between August 2015 to May 2016.

She attained her high school diploma at Saint Dominic Academy in 2013 after joining the school in 2009.

In the November 3 US elections, former Vice President Joe Biden is seeking to unseat incumbent president Donald Trump and both are busy on the campaign trail.

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