President Uhuru Kenyatta responds to Pandora Papers leak


President Uhuru Kenyatta. FILE PHOTO | NMG

President Uhuru Kenyatta has responded to the revelations of the hidden wealth of billionaires and heads of governments in a report published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ).

In a statement released Monday afternoon by the President's spokesperson Kanze Dena Mararo, Mr Kenyatta says the reports will enhance financial transparency and openness in Kenya and globally.

The vast trove of documents referred to as the Pandora Papers, name President Kenyatta and members of his family among dozen world leaders as secretly owning a network of offshore companies.

"The movement of illicit funds, proceeds of crime and corruption thrive in an environment of secrecy and darkness," said Mr Kenyatta.

"The Pandora Papers and subsequent follow-up audits will lift that veil of secrecy and darkness for those who cannot explain their assets or wealth."

The President did not address the reports' claims on the Kenyatta family wealth, only saying he would "respond comprehensively" on returning from a State visit to the Americas.

Mr Kenyatta was on Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the swearing in of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmend for his second term in office.

World reaction

Some 35 current and former leaders are featured in roughly 11.9 million documents leaked from financial services companies across the world that include reports of luxury homes on the French Riviera, Monte Carlo and California.

Allegations in the Pandora Papers range from corruption to money laundering and tax avoidance.

Although holding assets offshore or using shell companies is not illegal in most countries, the revelations are embarrassing for leaders who have pushed austerity measures or campaigned against corruption.

The revelations have been met with government denials, accusations of foreign influence and the announcement of an official investigation.

-Additional reporting by AFP

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