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NAIROBI, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Uganda plans to attract more Kenyan investors in order to boost its industrialization agenda, a diplomat said Thursday.

Hassan Wasswa Galiwango, Uganda High Commissioner to Kenya, told journalists in Nairobi that there are numerous opportunities in the agriculture, pharmaceutical, education and vehicle assembly sectors.

"We have a number of incentives that are available for investors with viable projects," Galiwango said during Uganda's independence week exhibition in Kenya.

The Ugandan envoy said that Uganda's agricultural-based economy provides opportunities for value addition for investors.

He said that Uganda's growing population has created enormous opportunities for investors to cater for the increasing demand for education.

The diplomat said that Uganda is already a popular destination for Kenyan students with an estimated 40,000 students undertaking courses in various institutions.

Galiwango said that Uganda is expecting more Kenyan tourists to visit the landlocked nation to enjoy its rich cultural heritage.

The envoy added that Uganda's close proximity provides an ideal location for Kenyan holidaymakers seeking to explore Africa's untapped scenic beauty. - Xinhua

Uhuru Kenyatta told the BBC in 2018 that he wanted fighting corruption and promoting transparency to be his legacy. Photo GETTY IMAGES

 

The family of Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, that has dominated the country's politics since independence, secretly owned a network of offshore companies for decades, according to a huge leak of financial papers.

The Pandora Papers - 12 million files - is the biggest such leak in history.

Mr Kenyatta and six members of his family have been linked to 13 offshore companies.

They have not yet responded to requests for comment.

The Kenyattas' 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 the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and other tax havens.

The secret assets were uncovered by an investigation, published earlier on Sunday, by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Finance Uncovered, Finance Uncovered, Africa Uncensored and other news organisations.

Documents show that a foundation called Varies was set up in 2003 in Panama, naming Mr Kenyatta's mother, Ngina, 88, as the first benefactor - and Kenya's leader as the second benefactor, who would inherit it after her death.

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, ICIJ reports.

The assets can also be designed to be transferred tax-free to a successor.

There's no reliable estimate of the Kenyatta family's net worth but its vast business interests span transport, insurance, hotels, farming, land ownership and the media industry in Kenya.

In 2018, Mr 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," My 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.

In the same interview, Mr Kenyatta said he wanted fighting corruption and promoting transparency to be his legacy.

He promised to work with parliament to create a law that would oblige public officials to declare their wealth, but MPs are yet to pass this bill.

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.

Client 13173

It's unclear if President Kenyatta, who retires next year after 10 years in office, knew about the Varies foundation but the timing of its opening may be instructive.

Seven months earlier, he had lost the 2002 presidential election to opposition candidate Mwai Kibaki, who had vowed to redress historical crimes as well as launch a war against corruption.

At the time, the family of outgoing president Daniel arap Moi, a friend of the Kenyattas, allegedly moved money out of the country, according to a 2014 leaked report by the international risk consultancy Kroll.

The Kenyatta family established its political and business interests during the rule of Kenya's first president, Uhuru's father Jomo. He has been accused of using his position to amass wealth.

After his death in 1978, Ngina Kenyatta, his fourth wife, played a pivotal role in expanding the family's business interests.

In paperwork seen by the BBC, the Pandora Papers reveal that in 1999, Mrs Kenyatta and her two daughters, Kristina and Anna, set up an offshore company - Milrun Internatinal Limited - which was incorporated in the BVI.

According to the ICIJ, Mrs Kenyatta and her daughters were advised by experienced international wealth experts from the Swiss bank Union Bancaire Privée (UBP), which recruited Alcogal, a Panamanian law firm specialising in setting up and administering offshore companies.

The consortium says invoices from Alcogal to the bank show that the Swiss advisers referred to the Kenyattas with the code "client 13173".

Alcogal provided a registered office for Milrun on the largest of the BVI islands, Tortola, and supplied staff members to act as the company's official directors.

The result was an entirely anonymous company that could not be traced back to the Kenyatta family.

This company was used by Mrs Kenyatta and her daughters to buy an apartment in central London, which it still owns, according to filings at the UK Land Registry seen by Finance Uncovered.

The prime property, which was until recently rented by British Labour MP Emma Ann Hardy, is now estimated to be worth close to $1.3m.

Ms Hardy's spokesperson said the MP, had "absolutely no knowledge" of who owned the property.

"She is shocked at what this investigation has uncovered, and believes it shows why more transparency is urgently needed," her statement said.

According to Finance Uncovered, the Kenyatta family has used other offshore companies to buy two more properties in the UK. $30m in stocks and bonds

UBP private-wealth advisers also helped Mr Kenyatta's brother, Muhoho, set up a Panamanian entity called Criselle Foundation in 2003.

The foundation was registered to the offices of Alcogal in Panama City, and was nominally run by board members from the Panamanian law firm.

It was set up for the benefit of Muhoho Kenyatta, with his son Jomo Kamau Muhoho, as successor.

Another BVI company which Mr Muhoho owned had a $30m valuation in stocks and bonds as of November 2016.

A search of public records in BVI and Panama found that most of the companies linked to the Kenyatta's are now dormant, some of them as a result of non-payment of regulatory fees.

It's not illegal to run secret companies, but some have been used as a front to divert money, avoid taxes and for money laundering.

The Pandora Papers, however, show no evidence that the Kenyatta family stole or hid state assets in their offshore companies. - BBC

Photo Anadolu Agency

 

Born in Tanzania, Indian-origin Mohammed Dewji is among the youngest billionaires of Africa, according to Forbes Magazine.

The US-trained entrepreneur transformed his family business from a $26 million trading and distribution company to a $1 billion business empire in just 12 years.

“I went to Georgetown University in Washington. I studied finance. When I graduated, I came back and joined my father’s business. We are one of the largest trading houses in eastern and central Africa,” he told Anadolu Agency.

Dewji, who was born in a drought-hit Singida region in central Tanzania, is hoping to make his company worth $5 billion in the next five years, and provide employment to 100,000 people across Africa.

Like Dewji, many Indians mostly from Gujarat and Punjab provinces, who made Tanzania their home, have built successful business companies in Africa through their entrepreneurial skills.

According to the Hindu Council of Tanzania, Indian-origin ethnic groups from different faiths such as Hinduism, Sikhism, and Islam, locally known as Wahindis, make up just 0.2% of the population of the East African country. But they are believed to control a large share of all businesses.

Hemanshu Surti, 30, an Indian-origin Tanzanian citizen and owner of a beach resort which his family purchased 16 years ago in Dar es Salaam, has kept Indian culture intact.

Surti is the youngest of five brothers – three of them also own and operate hotels in Mwanza and Arusha in the northern part of the country. His family had migrated from India’s western state of Gujarat.

“It is a tough job, you need a good marketing strategy to attract customers,” he said.

Although born in Tanzania, Surti can speak and wrote fluent Gujarati. “My wife and I make some efforts to ensure that our children are exposed to Indian and Gujarati culture,” he said.

Kartikeya Nivara, a businessman based in Dar es Salaam, said Gujaratis succeed in business because they are known for taking risks.

“Business is in our blood. We learn it from a younger age,” he told Anadolu Agency.

According to Simeon Mesaki, a retired professor of anthropology at the University of Dar es Salaam, Indian traders flocked to Tanzania when the economy was liberalized in the 1990s.

“Minority Indians have maintained strong intracommunal trade relations ostensibly to provide easy solutions and maintain strong community cohesion, which is necessary for the survival of its members,” he said. - Kizito Makoye, Anadolu Agency

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