Kenyans Have Sh72 Billion in Secret Swiss Accounts

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Kenyans have stashed away a staggering Sh72 billion (818 million swiss francs) in Swiss Banks according to a new report by Swiss National Bank (SNB)-the Central Bank of Switzerland.

Kenya is among several countries in Africa with hidden wealth in Switzerland.

The report shows that other countries whose nationals have stashed away wealth in Switzerland in billions of Swiss francs include, Tanzania (183m), [Sh15b]), Uganda (154m [Sh13.4b]), Egypt 798m [Sh69.5b], South Africa (795m [Sh69.3b]) and Seychelles (2,515m [Sh219.2b]), Zimbabwe (96m [Sh8.3b]), Senegal (150m [Sh13b]), Rwanda (29m [Sh2.5b]), Sierra Leone (29m [Sh2.5b]), Somalia (1m [Sh87m]) and Sudan (179m Sh15.6b]).

These figures, described by SNB as “liabilities of swiss banks towards clients

from different countries’ do not necessarily project the much-talked about black money held by Kenyans in the safe havens of Switzerland.

SNB figures do not include money that Kenya individuals might have in other’s names or are managed by wealth funds.

“The total overseas funds in Switzerland’s banking system stood at 1.53 trillion Swiss francs,” the report adds.

At the same time, global pressure has been rising on Switzerland to ask its banks to share information about their clients with foreign governments.

Kenya is suspected to have lost more than Sh100 billion through the Goldenberg foreign exchange scheme and Anglo Leasing security contracts scandals.

Most of the billions stashed away in foreign accounts by influential businessmen and powerful politicians are suspected to be proceeds of defence and security related contracts and payments of fake debts.

In February, an official at the Attorney-General’s office said the government finally secured a mutual legal assistance agreement with Switzerland reviving hopes of fresh investigations into the Anglo-Leasing scandal.

Since then investigations had been revived into the scandal that has claimed the careers of several politicians and senior public servants and led to a period in exile for former whistle-blowing Ethics and Governance permanent secretary John Githongo.

After taking over as AG last August, Prof Githu Muigai sent a request to Swiss authorities seeking assistance to track down individuals and companies involved.

Former AG Amos Wako and successive heads of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission had reported abortive attempts to secure the help of Swiss authorities in cracking Anglo-Leasing cases under the Mutual Legal Assistance scheme.

The Swiss Government, however, insisted on proof that the officers who were sending requests had the legal authority.

Investigations into one of the major scandals in the country extended to five foreign countries — Switzerland, Britain, France, Germany and the United States.

Former permanent secretaries Joseph Magari (Treasury) and Silvester Mwaliko (Home Affairs) lost their jobs in the civil service because of the scandal. Their cases are still in court.

Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi and former Finance minister David Mwiraria were suspended from office as they were investigated over claims by Mr Githongo that they either tried to cover up or were involved in the Anglo-Leasing scandal. They were later cleared of any wrongdoing.

Last year, Mr Wako said the government was in close contact with Swiss authorities on matters relating to the Anglo-Leasing scandal.

The Anglo-Leasing scandal dates back to 2002 when the Kenyan government sought to get new generation passports with advanced security features.

The investigations involved two contracts which started during former President Daniel arap Moi’s regime, but were inherited when the Narc government, under President Kibaki, took over in 2003.

In the first contract, Anglo-Leasing and Finance was given an order worth Sh2.7 billion, without competitive tender, to supply a passport printing system for the Immigration ministry.

Another deal secured by the shadowy company was a contract of Sh4 billion to build and fit three forensic laboratories for the Criminal Investigations Department. None of the contracts were implemented.

Kenya is also seeking the owners of two other companies — Midland Finance and Globetel — which financed two other projects under the Anglo-Leasing scheme. The Sh4.9 billion contract was signed on May 29, 2003.

However, Sh800 million paid up front was returned after the scandal broke.

Another company, Infotalent, was awarded a contract to finance the computerisation of the Kenya Police E-cops project.

The contract, worth Sh5.9 billion, was signed on December 4, 2003 and Sh588 million was allegedly paid out. The money was also reported to have been refunded.

One of the biggest scandals to be exposed in Kenya is the Goldenberg scandal. According to a report of the commission into the Goldenberg scandal, more than Sh158.3 billion was transacted through several companies in the foreign currency scheme.

Goldenberg International associated with controversial businessman Kamlesh Pattni, is said to have received Sh35. 3 billion. The matter is currently pending before court.

The hearing of the Sh5.8 billion Goldenberg case started on April 16 this year, six years after the suspects were formally charged in court and 19 years since the scandal was exposed in 1993.

Former Kenya Commercial Bank funds manager Stephen Ngethe Ngari was the first to testify, revealing how KCB transferred Sh5.8 billion from its accounts at the Central Bank to various commercial banks.

Mr Ngari said he acted on the orders of then KCB general manager Elijah arap Bii, who informed him that the transactions had been sanctioned by the government.

Others charged with conspiracy to defraud the government and illegal payment of Sh 5.8 billion to Goldenberg International between April and July 1993 are Mr Bii, Mr Pattni and former Finance permanent secretary Wilfred Karuga Koinange.

The case has been dogged by many delays and adjournments since 2006 when the three alongside former CBK Governor Eric Kotut, his former deputy Eliphaz Riungu, and former Special Branch director James Kanyotu were charged in court.

The case hit a snag in early 2008 when the former spy chief and one of the accused in the scandal Kanyotu died. Mr Riungu died last September.

The six were charged upon the recommendations of Mr Justice Samuel Bosire-led commission of inquiry into the Goldenberg scandal.

Nambale MP Chris Okemo and the former Kenya Power managing director, Mr Samuel Gichuru, are wanted in the Island of Jersey for money laundering and fraud.

Jersey has accused Mr Gichuru of having received Sh900 million in kickbacks through his company, Windward Trading, to award tenders at KPLC between 1999 and 2002.

The Jersey authorities have filed 53 charges against Mr Gichuru and Mr Okemo.

They are fighting an extradition case. The case at the magistrate’s court was suspended after Mr Okemo and Mr Gichuru questioned the legality of the appointment of the state prosecutor, Mr Patrick Kiage.

Source: Daily Nation

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

Kenyans have stashed away a staggering Sh72 billion (818 million swiss francs) in Swiss Banks according to a new report by Swiss National Bank (SNB)-the Central Bank of Switzerland.

Kenya is among several countries in Africa with hidden wealth in Switzerland.

The report shows that other countries whose nationals have stashed away wealth in Switzerland in billions of Swiss francs include, Tanzania (183m), [Sh15b]), Uganda (154m [Sh13.4b]), Egypt 798m [Sh69.5b], South Africa (795m [Sh69.3b]) and Seychelles (2,515m [Sh219.2b]), Zimbabwe (96m [Sh8.3b]), Senegal (150m [Sh13b]), Rwanda (29m [Sh2.5b]), Sierra Leone (29m [Sh2.5b]), Somalia (1m [Sh87m]) and Sudan (179m Sh15.6b]).

These figures, described by SNB as “liabilities of swiss banks towards clients from different countries’ do not necessarily project the much-talked about black money held by Kenyans in the safe havens of Switzerland.

SNB figures do not include money that Kenya individuals might have in other’s names or are managed by wealth funds.

“The total overseas funds in Switzerland’s banking system stood at 1.53 trillion Swiss francs,” the report adds.

At the same time, global pressure has been rising on Switzerland to ask its banks to share information about their clients with foreign governments.

It is suspected that Kenyans having illicit wealth in Swiss banks may be moving their funds for fear of being exposed due to growing scrutiny.

Kenya is suspected to have lost more than Sh100 billion through the Goldenberg foreign exchange scheme and Anglo Leasing security contracts scandals.

Most of the billions stashed away in foreign accounts by influential businessmen and powerful politicians are suspected to be proceeds of defence and security related contracts and payments of fake debts.

In February, an official at the Attorney-General’s office said the government finally secured a mutual legal assistance agreement with Switzerland reviving hopes of fresh investigations into the Anglo-Leasing scandal.

Since then investigations had been revived into the scandal that has claimed the careers of several politicians and senior public servants and led to a period in exile for former whistle-blowing Ethics and Governance permanent secretary John Githongo.

After taking over as AG last August, Prof Githu Muigai sent a request to Swiss authorities seeking assistance to track down individuals and companies involved.

Former AG Amos Wako and successive heads of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission had reported abortive attempts to secure the help of Swiss authorities in cracking Anglo-Leasing cases under the Mutual Legal Assistance scheme.

The Swiss Government, however, insisted on proof that the officers who were sending requests had the legal authority.

Investigations into one of the major scandals in the country extended to five foreign countries — Switzerland, Britain, France, Germany and the United States.

Former permanent secretaries Joseph Magari (Treasury) and Silvester Mwaliko (Home Affairs) lost their jobs in the civil service because of the scandal. Their cases are still in court.

Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi and former Finance minister David Mwiraria were suspended from office as they were investigated over claims by Mr Githongo that they either tried to cover up or were involved in the Anglo-Leasing scandal. They were later cleared of any wrongdoing.

 

 

 

 
 

 

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