A Kenyan in US sues Kenya Government for two billion shillings
Kenya is battling a two billion shillings suit in the United States over dealings at Charter House bank.
Finance Minister Njeru Githae Tuesday told parliament that one Peter George Odhiambo who once worked at the bank as an internal Auditor is claiming two billion shillings as reward for information he supplied to the Kenya Revenue Authority on tax aversion by account holders in the Bank.
Githae said the country is being sued on allegation that it sovereignty had been waived by Maina Kiai when he served as the chairman of the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights.
The minister termed Odhiambo who is alleged to have met the Prime Minister in Washington as a conman seeking to defraud the people of Kenya.
He said it is was unfortunate that Odhiambo was sneaked out of the country by the former US Ambassador Michael Rannerberger to seek political asylum yet Kenya is a safe country with functioning systems.
The minister said the government will fight this suit with the best lawyers available in the US and ensure that no single cent is paid to a man who has been termed a whistle-blower leading to the closure of Charterhouse Bank on grounds that it was an heaven of money laundering.
Government not amenable
The minister however said Odhiambo was once rewarded over 1 million shillings for information he provided to Kenya Revenue Authority leading to recovery of tax but not on account holders of charter House Bank.
He termed the affidavit sworn by Odhiambo in suing the government fictitious and that the voucher of 200-thousand shillings he claims to have paid belonged to one Mr. Nduati.
The minister was however challenged that to state why KRA put Odhiambo on allowance to undertake an illegality of spying on individual account holders information without their notice.
Attorney General Githu Muigai said the Kenya government is not amenable to the jurisdiction of the US state and that it cannot be challenged in any jurisdiction on internal matters.
In the suit Odhiambo through lawyers Thomas Kipkorir Kirui and Ian P. Alberg claims he was hired by Charterhouse Bank in April 2003, and he when joined the institution he realized several accounts were operated in violation of the Income Tax Act, the Economic Crimes Act, the Central Bank Act, the Banking Act and prudential regulations.
He claims in the suit that he came across accounts with suspiciously large transactions in personal savings accounts.
These transactions were hidden from bank inspectors. He alleges in 2004, he came across a KRA information reward scheme where the tax collector was to pay a reward amounting to one per cent of the undisclosed taxes identified up to a maximum of 00,000 shillings as well as a reward of three per cent of the taxes collected.
He subsequently made copies of activity reports for more than 800 suspicious Charterhouse customer accounts and forwarded them to KRA.
He claims that after an analysis of the information he supplied it was found out that 604 of accounts evaded taxes with each avoiding to pay more than 10 million shillings adding to Sh21.1 billion and therefore he was entitled to 60.4 million shillings as well as 1.26 billion shillings of the amount that KRA collected on the basis of his information.
Githae was responding to a question by Kilome MP Harun Mwau who had sought to know if Odhiambo disclosed the accounts information of the Bank’s depositors without their consent and if the said account holders were exclusively banking with Charter House Bank.