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Economy

UK government now turns its guns on Moi-era looters

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) offices at Integrity Centre in Nairobi. EACC is yet to pursue those named in the Kroll Report. PHOTO | FILE
Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) offices at Integrity Centre in Nairobi. EACC is yet to pursue those named in the Kroll Report. PHOTO | FILE 

The British government has offered to help Kenya trace and recover assets looted by Moi-era power men named in the Kroll Report even as the risk consulting firm said it has only completed a quarter of the job.

UK authorities said they are currently in touch with Nairobi to help identify and seize the more than £1 billion (Sh145 billion) looted from taxpayers and stashed in offshore bank accounts and prime real estate purchases in the UK.

The Kroll report uncovered systematic looting of public resources that were subsequently hidden in more than 40 countries and tax havens around the world in the form of cash in banks, land, ranches, and shares in blue-chip companies.

“The UK continues to work closely with the Kenyan authorities, and has asked for information necessary to take this forward,” said a spokesperson at the British High Commission in Kenya.

The British High Commission said recent asset seizures and repatriation, as was the case in the so-called Chickengate scandal and confiscation of former Kenya Power boss Samuel Gichuru’s offshore account funds, show that the UK is committed to the fight against graft.

“Recent times have demonstrated we’re keen to support Kenya in this area,” the spokesperson said.

Kroll, however, said that they were yet to complete the forensic study into the systematic looting of Kenyan taxpayer funds during the 24-year reign of Daniel arap Moi.

“We were never allowed to complete the work. We had only done 25 per cent of the work,” said Kroll’s senior consultant for Africa, Mark Simmonds, in an exclusive interview with the Business Daily.

Mr Simmonds, however, declined to give further details, citing strict confidentiality rules.

Kroll is mulling over a plan to set up a base in Kenya as part of a wide plan to win local risk consultancy and business advisory deals, the firm announced last month.

Kroll’s rare disclosure means that the extent of Kenyan assets pillaged under Mr Moi may top £4 billion (Sh580 billion), which is a tenth of Kenya’s rebased GDP.

In 2003, then President Mwai Kibaki hired Kroll Associates to track funds stashed abroad by Kanu bigmen, but the findings have never made public even after whistleblower site WikiLeaks published the explosive report in the run-up to the 2007 General Election.

Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando a fortnight ago petitioned the National Assembly to compel the government to seize assets identified in the damning Kroll report.

The assets identified in the report include multi-million pound properties in London, New York, and South Africa; as well as a 10,000-hectare ranch in Australia.

Those named in the 110-page Kroll Report include former President Moi’s sons Philip and Gideon, Joshua Kulei, who served as private secretary to Moi, ex-powerful minister Nicholas Biwott and former Vice-President Geroge Saitoti (deceased).

The report says Mr Kulei owns several palatial homes in London “where his children go to school” -- giving addresses such as 19 Eaton Park, Cobham, Surrey, Flat 11, No. 49 and Lowdnes Square London.

Other properties in the UK are a £4 million palatial home in Surrey and a £2 million flat in Knightsbridge.

Kroll forensic auditors also unearthed dozens of secret bank accounts held in the UK by powerful Moi government figures and pseudo-businessmen, holding “millions of pounds.”

The report says Moi-era power men have retained the services of top-notch stockbrokers and savvy private wealth advisers based in London and New York to manage their portfolios.

In September 2007, government spokesman Alfred Mutua (now Machakos governor) and the then Justice permanent secretary Dorothy Angote, confirmed that the Kenyan government had received the Kroll Report in 2004 and that it was handed over to the now defunct Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), like its predecessors, is yet to pursue those named.

The Kroll Report said that Philip Moi had assets worth £384 million while his brother Gideon Moi (currently Baringo senator) was reported to have £550 million, mostly held overseas.

This translates to Sh55.6 billion and Sh79.7 billion respectively at current exchange rates.

Transnational Bank is the conduit that was used to launder cash to the tune of Sh13 billion before it was sent to overseas accounts, according to the Kroll Report.

The tier-three lender’s major shareholders are Sovereign Trust, associated with Mr Kulei, with 23.03 per cent, Simbi Investors, associated with Simeon Nyachae, with 8.2 million shares or 4.11 per cent; Losupuk Ltd, associated with former vice president George Saitoti, (2.79 per cent) and Kenyerere Ltd – associated with Jared Kangwana - with a 2.15 per cent stake.

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