Tag Archives: Corruption

#PandoraPapers: President Kenyatta hidden wealth

Strasbourg 05.10.2021 While Uhuru Kenyatta succeeded in a political comeback by campaigning against corruption, his family’s secret fortune was growing offshore, a massive new leak to @ICIJorg shows.

At his annual State of the Nation address last autumn, President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed Kenya’s Parliament acknowledging that too many Kenyans live in poverty and too many civil servants loot the country’s public resources.

During this address the son of Kenya’s first President and leader of one of Africa’s largest economies, the 59-year-old Kenyatta urged lawmakers to join him in fighting corruption and yet again repeated “the centrality of transparency, accountability and good governance as the anchors of sustainable development.”

However a massive amount of newly leaked documents show that Kenyatta’s family has for years been intensely accumulating a personal fortune behind offshore corporate veils.

Kenyatta, along with his mother, sisters and brother, have for decades shielded wealth from public scrutiny through foundations and companies in tax havens, including Panama, with assets worth more than $30 million, according to records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and shared with more than 600 reporters and media organisations around the world.

The records – from the Panamanian law firm Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal) – show that the family owned at least seven such entities, two registered anonymously in Panama and five in the British Virgin Islands. One BVI company owned a home in central London, according to the records, and two other companies held investment portfolios worth tens of millions of dollars. The Kenyattas’ offshore wealth, revealed here for the first time, represents part of an estimated half-billion-dollar family fortune amassed in a country where the average annual salary is less than $8,000 a year.

The family began to accumulate much of its offshore wealth while Uhuru Kenyatta was a rising star of politics, promising defeat corruption. Two offshore companies were created during an investigation into alleged looting of the public treasury during the watch of President Daniel arap Moi, Kenyatta’s former political patron.

Under Kenyan law, the President must provide a list of financial interests to the Ministry of Finance each year. Kenyatta and his family members did not respond to requests for comment, including whether he declared any offshore interests or was required to do so.

Details of the Kenyatta family’s offshore wealth have been brought to light by the leaked Pandora Papers, a collection of more than 11.9 million records from 14 law firms and other service providers based in the United Arab Emirates, the Seychelles, Panama, Singapore and other tax havens.

The investigation has revealed assets of 35 current or former world leaders, including the king of Jordan, the prime minister of the Czech Republic, and Kenyatta’s fellow African leaders Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon and Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of Congo.

Al-Bashir $4bn assets confiscated

Following the investigation, Sudan has confiscated assets valued at $4 billion from former President Omar al-Bashir, his family members and associates, the country’s anti-corruption body said.

“Our initial estimates of the value of the assets, shares in different companies and buildings we have confiscated is $3.5 billion to $4 billion,” Salah Manaa, a spokesperson for the Anti-Corruption and Regime Dismantling Committee, said in response to questions. The body was set up late last year.

Bashir, who was overthrown by the army in a coup a year ago amid mass protests against his three-decade rule, was jailed in December after being found guilty of illicitly possessing millions of dollars in foreign currencies.

The oust leader has also been indicted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity committed in the western region of Darfur.

Sudan: Bashir family property confiscated

In Sudan capital Khartoum several large plots of land and residential properties will be confiscated from family members, relatives, and some close friends of ousted President Omar al-Bashir after investigation established they were acquired largely due to family connections, anti-corruption committee announced on May 7.

The Empowerment Removal Committee said it confiscated property from Bashir’s brother-in-law, nieces, nephews, and a former Defence minister, who was a close ally of al-Bashir. It transferred the ownership of the propterites, which totalled around 92,000 square meters in size to the finance ministry with new status of natonalised public property.

Separately, it also dissolved the boards of the Khartoum International Airport Company and the Sudan Airports Holding Company over a range of accusations, mainly corruption.

The committee was charged by the attorney general with dismantling the system built by long-term ruler Bashir authority after his ouster in April last year. It is in charge of investigations into crimes involving public funds and corruption by the former president and members of his extended family and allies.

Bashir, who has been jailed in Khartoum since he was toppled following mass protests after his 30-year authoritarian rule, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in the Darfur region.

A Sudanese court handed Bashir a first, two-year sentence in December on corruption charges. He also faces trials and investigations over the killing of protesters and his role in the 1989 coup that brought him to power.

Zuma arrest warrant issued

A South African court has issued an arrest warrant for the former president Jacob Zuma after he failed to appear at hearing on the grounds of a medical treatment.

Zuma’s lawyer, Daniel Mantsha, presented a document from a “military hospital” to excuse his client absence, but the judge questioned whether the note was valid or even written by a doctor. Prosecutors said it was a criminal offence not to fully explain an absence on medical grounds. Jacob Zuma face charges in a corruption case that he has been avoiding for months, most recently by referring to health issues, preventing him to stand a trial.

“Zuma’s absence is disappointing … we want Mr Mantsha to tell us what the illness is and why Zuma can’t be here. It is a criminal offence for the accused not to be present if he has been warned in court,” said Billy Downer, representing South African the state.

According to former President lawyers, he had two operations in early January before going abroad. However the judge questioned the authenticity of a letter from a “military hospital” in the administrative capital, Pretoria, explaining Mr. Zuma’s absence.

Isabel Dos Santos assets freeze

“Angola has frozen the assets of the billionaire Isabel dos Santos, daughter of the country’s former leader, in a move, indicating that incumbent President João Lourenço is aiming at tougher stance against the former first family.

“Since closing the chapter of José Eduardo dos Santos’ nearly 40-year grip on power in 2017, President Lourenço has been trying to neutralise the influence of his predecessor and reform sub-Saharan third-largest economy. Nowadays Lourenço is under increasing pressure while Angola economy continues delcine.

“Isabel dos Santos stated that the asset freeze was “politically motivated” and that the case against her had been held in total secrecy.

The judgment contains statements which are completely untrue,” she said in a statement. She later told Reuters new agency by phone that she had never been summoned or questioned by an Angolan court or prosecutors.

Considered to be “Africa’s wealthiest woman”, Isabel dos Santos amassed a fortune estimated at more than $2 billion through stakes in Angolan companies including banks and the telecoms firm Unitel, earning her the nickname “the Princess”.

She chaired the state oil company Sonangol before being sacked by Lourenço months after he came to power.

Al-Bashir faces indictment

Sudanese judge on formally indicted former President of Sudan Omar al-Bashir for possessing illicit foreign currency and corruption. Al-Bashir was publicly questioned for the first time since his overthrow.

Judge Al-Sadiq Abdelrahman announced at the third session of Bashir‘s trial that foreign funds of various currencies were found at his home.

Authorities had “seized 6.9 million euros, $351,770 and 5.7 million Sudanese pounds at (Bashir’s) home which he acquired and used illegally,” the judge revealed.

Sudan’s Bashir on trial soon

Sudan’s chief prosecutor announced that ousted President Omar al-Bashir would be sent for trial soon on corruption charges related to his three decades in power.

Alwaleed Sayed Ahmed Mahmoud declared at news conference the trial referral would be made after a one-week period for objections expires, adding that criminal cases have been opened against 41 other former officials accused of graft.

Charged with corruption after an investigation was completed, as the prosecutor’s office underlined, Bashir, was ousted by the military in April this year following months of protests against his three decades autocratic rule.

No renewal of Nigerian political landscape

Nigeria’s former vice-president Atiku Abubakar repeated bids for the presidency have excluded a renewal of political landscape in upcoming presidential elections in 2019.

Having failed four times for the top job claims, the 71-year-old political veteran again has been given chance by the main opposition PDP party to challenge  President Muhammadu Buhari in February’s election.PDP

Abubakar is credited with having a solid network of support which is considered to be matching the level of the challenge, as well some progressive trends due to his backing of education initiatives, including the creation of the high profile American University of Nigeria in Adamawa State.

However Abubakar reputation has been plagued by chronic allegations of corruption, and arguments around conflict of interests between his business and political activities, repelling young electorate from his candidacy as a meaningful alternative to incumbent president.

Abubakar defected and switched back to the PDP in December 2017, alleging the 75-year-old president Buhari of “letting the Nigerian people, and especially our young people, down”.

In September Abubakar called Buhariuncompromising” and “power drunk” attempting to establish himself as a right man to lead Africa’s biggest economy.

Malawi vice-president Chilima launched political party

Malawi’s vice-president Saulos Chilima launched his own political party to run against the government in elections next year, persisting in his public criticism on President Peter Mutharika’s cabinet.

Chilima, 45, was handpicked Mutharika to run alongside him in 2014 on the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) ticket.

But Chilima quit the DPP last month citing corruption and nepotism.

Following mounting calls for him to run in the May 2019 vote, he launched the United Transformation Movement (UTM) in the capital Lilongwe, seeking to unseat the 79-year-old Mutharika.

“It is because of the rot that we are seeing all over that we are launching UTM,” Chilima said.

“We should not allow people to continue treating us like fools. Everyone should have a bright future regardless of where they come from or the political party they support.”

The ruling party has been plagued by calls from civil action groups for its leader to resign after a leaked report by the Anti-Corruption Bureau accused Mutharika of receiving a $195,000 (167,000 euros) kickback from a contract to supply food to the police.

Zuma son detained in Johannesburg airport

Duduzane Zuma, the son of former South African president Jacob Zuma, was briefly detained at Johannesburg main airport on Thursday relating to a corruption case, his lawyer said on Friday, July 6.

Duduzane Zuma, who was returning to South Africa to attend his brother’s funeral, is due at Randburg Magistrate’s Court in Johannesburg next week to face separate charges of culpable homicide over a fatal 2014 car crash.

Zuma’s Porsche 911 sports car ploughed into a minivan taxi in Johannesburg, killing one woman and seriously injuring another who later died in hospital.

Zuma, who has previously said his car hit a puddle of water, will be contesting the charges.

His detainment at OR Tambo airport was in connection with a filed in Rosebank Johannesburg in 2016 corruption case, his lawyer Rudi Krause confirmed, adding that he didn’t have any other details.

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