Faridah N Kulumba
Africa-Press – Kenya. The family of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been linked to a freshly released declassification that exposed how the rich and mighty have stashed billions of shillings in offshore accounts.
President Kenyatta and six members of his family including his brother and two sisters, have been linked to 13 offshore companies, according to the Pandora Papers 12 million files which is the biggest leak in history.
The secret assets were uncovered by an investigation, published on 3 October 2021, by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ). Finance Uncovered, Africa Uncensored and other news organisations.
President Uhuru’s offshore investments, including a company with stocks and bonds worth $30m (£22m), were discovered among hundreds of thousands of pages of administrative paperwork from the archives of 14 law firms and service providers in Panama and British Virgin Islands (BVI) and other tax havens.
Documents show that a foundation called Varies was set up in 2003 in Panama, naming Mr Kenyatta’s mother, Ngina Kenyatta, 88, as the first benefactor, and Uhuru as the second benefactor, who would inherit it after her death. However the purpose of the foundation and the value of its assets are unknown.
Panamanian foundations are much sought after because the true owners of the assets are only known by their lawyers and they do not have to register their names with the Panamanian government, and the assets can also be designed to be transferred tav-free to a successor. ICIJ report.
The Kenyatta’s wealth
The Kenyatta family established its political and business interests during the rule of Kenya’s first president Uhuru’s father Jomo Kinyatta, who has been accused of using his position to amass wealth.
After Jomo’s death in 1978, his fourth wife, Ngina Kenyatta, played a pivotal role in expanding the family’s business interest.
The Pandora Papers revealed that in 1999, Mrs Kenyatta and her two daughters, Kristina and Anna, set up an offshore company Milrun International Limited which was incorporated in the BVI.
The Pandora Papers Investigation by ICIJ indicates that the secret documents expose offshore dealings of the king of Jordan Abdullah ll, the presidents of Ukraine, Kenya and Ecuador, the prime minister of the Czech Republic, Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Congo-Brazzaville Denis Sassou-Nguesso. and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
There is no reliable estimate of the Kenyatta family’s net worth but its vast business interests span transport, insurance, hotel, farming, land ownership and the media industry in Kenya.