What the Pandora Papers mean in Kenya: There are millions of people in the World who have offshore accounts abroad. There are also very many people in the World who own a lot of properties abroad.
Going by the unexplained meaning and purposes of the release of the few names of individuals who own properties and offshore accounts abroad by the ICIJ, it is possible to join Kenyans with dual citizenship who live abroad, who own property and bank accounts there, in this category of individuals who have failed to pay taxes to Kenya, for all what they own abroad and for their offshore accounts.
So far I have not seen or heard any Kenyan from the Diaspora, who sends money back to Kenya in the form of taxes, from the properties they own abroad or from the businesses they operate abroad, as an example of what the Kenyatta family has failed to do with their offshore accounts, businesses or properties they own abroad?.
If by sending money to their families, those Kenyans in the Diaspora who own properties abroad or run businesses abroad, would claim they send taxes to the Kenya Government, then how much do the Kenyatta family send to the Kenya Government as taxes, when they withdraw money from their offshore accounts abroad, to give to their extended families in Kenya? Let us have people come up with corruption scandals if any, associated with individual Kenyatta family members, instead of condemning the family wholesale, as though they all operate a joint account or as if they all own properties jointly.
It has to be fully understood that, we are concerned with Ruto who has been associated with numerous corruption scandals, because he wants to be President of Kenya, and we know how much destruction, he will do to Kenya. Who in the Kenyatta family wants to run for President in 2022 to compete with Ruto, so that we can compare him or her with Ruto in terms of corruption? Those Kenyans with businesses abroad know so well that those businesses are not scrutinized by the Kenya Government.
The businesses owned by foreign investors in Kenya are not scrutinized buy the foreign Nations. They are scrutinized by the Kenya Government. Those who own houses in America for example, pay taxes to America and not to Kenya. Those Kenyans who own businesses in America, they pay taxes to America and not to Kenya. Similarly, those Americans who operate businesses in China, pay taxes to China.
I do not understand how the Kenyatta family should be sending taxes to Kenya, from the properties they own abroad and from the businesses they operate abroad if any. Kenyans should also understand that Jomo Kenyatta had a white family in Britain. From my understanding, the white wife was related to the Queen family, but I stand to be corrected. The Queen family is not poor, and I do not expect the Kenyatta white family to be poor.
Secondly, the Kenyatta family wealth is now 68 years old. It is up to the respective countries in which they own properties to determine whether the properties they own are illegal or legal, and whether the business they operate are legal or illegal. Neither the people of Kenya nor the Government of Kenya has the mandate to dictate the running of a foreign Government in terms of businesses conducted there by Kenyans or about the ownership of properties there by Kenyans.
But all I understand is that all what the Kenyatta family has been doing has been legal. I therefore do not see the reason for all these outcry. Furthermore, there are so many Kenyans who own Properties abroad. All I would be interested in, is proof of whether the property was bought with looted public funds or whether the businesses are ran with looted public funds. If the Kenyatta family has to pay taxes for their offshore accounts and for the properties they own, then all those other Kenya leaders who have offshore accounts and properties, all duo Kenyan citizens in the Diaspora who own bank accounts and properties abroad, should also start to pay taxes to Kenya.
At the same time, all the investors in Kenya should be forced by such a Kenya law, to pay taxes to their respective Nations from where they come. This should have been the impartial approach that should have been adopted by ICIJ when releasing the Pandora report about the Kenyatta family.
If the ICIJ is unable to associate the Kenyatta family with corruption scandals, its release of the Pandora Papers may not only be intended to hurt the reputation of the family, but also to create trouble for the Dual Kenya Citizens all over the World, who I am sure ,do not pay taxes to the Kenya Government from the businesses they operate abroad, from the properties they own abroad and from their offshore accounts abroad.
And unless the issues of taxes from the offshore accounts, properties and businesses owned abroad are applied to all Kenyans impartially, the release of the Pandora Papers on the Kenyatta family alone, leaves a lot to be desired, if there was no established wrongdoing.
Dr. Isaac Newton Kinity.
Former Secretary General
Kenya Civil Servants Union.
THE MEANING OF THE PANDORA PAPERS IN KENYA