Pandora Papers: How Much Are The Kenyattas Stashing Away

7 months ago 3398
Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Kenya, and his family including former First Lady Ngina Kenyatta, have been implicated in the Pandora Papers leak. Image sourced from Reuters.

The Pandora Papers – nearly 3TBs worth of data containing over 11.9-million records have implicated Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Kenya, and members of his family, including his mother ‘Mama’ Ngina Kenyatta, brother Muhoho Kenyatta, sisters, and others, in allegedly hiding their wealth from the public in tax havens across Panama and the British Virgin Islands.

The family, who have dominated Kenya’s government since Uhuru’s father Jomo Kenyatta became Kenya’s first president since independence in 1964, have been hiding assets worth more than $30-million according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, who compiled the records from 14 law firms and other service providers from ‘tax haven’ countries around the world from the United Arab Emirates to Singapore and others.

These particular records, which were released initially by a Panamanian law firm, show that the Kenyattas owned at least seven such ‘tax haven’ entities, two registered anonymously in Panama and five in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

One such foundation was called ‘Varies’ and was set up in 2003 in Panama, naming Uhuru Kenyatta’s mother, Ngina, 88, as the first benefactor – with Kenya’s president listed as the second benefactor, who would inherit it after her death.

An excerpt of the Pandora Papers describing the beneficiaries to the Varies Foundation. Image sourced from BBC.

The purpose of the Varies Foundation and the value of its assets are still unknown.

One BVI company owned a home in central London, according to the records, and two other companies linked to the Kenyattas held investment portfolios worth tens of millions of dollars. The records also revealed the Kenyattas’ offshore wealth: a fortune estimated at a half-billion dollars.

It is not yet known if Kenyatta had declared any of the off-shore companies linked to his family to Kenya’s Ministry of Finance (as required by law) or if he was even required to do so, but the news has set Kenya’s social media ablaze.

#PandoraPapers is currently the number 1 trend on Kenya’s Twitter, followed by “Client 13173″, the number under which the Kenyattas have been listed by Union Bancaire Privée, one of the largest private banks in Switzerland which advises some of the world’s wealthiest people on how to manage their money.

The Kenyattas are already considered one of the wealthiest families in Africa, and Uhuru one of Africa’s wealthiest presidents and one of the richest men in Kenya with a net worth of over $500-million.

His mother, Mama Ngina, might be one of the wealthiest women in Africa with a net worth of $1-billion, a wealth she says she has amassed across “real estate, banking, and hospitality sectors .”

The discovery that Kenyatta and his family have been stashing away a vast amount of money sets a stark contrast from the president’s public image of a transparency advocate and statesman staunchly against corruption.

Uhuru, who offered to forgo 20% of his salary after assuming power in 2007, is now expected to face a distinct backlash from the public and political rivals after the leaks.

By Luis Monzon
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