Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday welcomed the now famous Pandora’s papers adding that he had nothing to hide and it is an opportunity for other leaders to also declare the legality of their wealth.
Kenyatta who had left the country for the swearing in of Ethiopia’s prime minister and later flew to the Americas was confident that his family had nothing to do with corruption.
“These reports will go a long way in enhancing the financial transparency and openness that we require in Kenya and around the globe. The movement of illicit funds, proceeds of crime and corruption thrive in an environment of secrecy and darkness,” read a statement from the first family.
The president also added that Pandora’s papers and subsequent follow up audits will lift that veil of secrecy and darkness for those who cannot explain their assets or wealth.
The secrets assets have been uncovered by an investigation published by the international consortium of investigative journalists ICIJ.
The documents show that a foundation called Varies was set up in 2003 in Panama naming Mama Ngina Kenyatta as the first benefactor and president Uhuru Kenyatta as the second benefactor, but the Foundation’s value still remains unknown.
The documents further alleged that wealth experts from a swiss bank helped the president’s brother Mr Muhoho Kenyatta to set up a Panamanian entity called Crisselle Foundation in the year 2003. The beneficiaries of this foundation are Muhoho Kenyatta and his son Jomo Kamau Muhoho as his successor.
The Pandora papers have linked the Kenyatta family to 1e offshore companies with one of them having an investment of about three million shillings secretly.
The value of the Kenyatta’s wealth still remains a secret as it is not illegal to run secret companies. There is also no evidence that the first family did hide state assets in the offshore companies.
In 2018, Uhuru Kenyatta told the BBC Hardtalk programme that his family’s wealth was known to the public, and as president he had declared his assets as required by law.
“As I have always stated, what we own – what we have – is open to the public. As a public servant I’m supposed to make my wealth known and we declare every year,” Mr Kenyatta said.
“If there’s an instance where somebody can say that what we have done or obtained has not been legitimate, say so – we are ready to face any court,” he added.
From his statement on Monday, the president seems now to be challenging other politicians in Kenya to make known their wealth publicly and how they acquired them as the country prepares itself for the presidential elections in 2022.
Other world leaders named in the Pandora Papers include the King of Jordan Abdullah II, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba and President of Congo-Brazzaville Denis Sassou-Nguesso.
BY Shadrack Andenga Odinga