President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya is among world leaders whose financial dealings are detailed in the new “Pandora Papers” investigative report released Sunday.
The report, billed as the largest investigation in journalism history, involves more than 600 journalists from 150 news outlets around the world, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). It is based on two years’ worth of careful scrutiny of leaked records from 14 firms that handle offshore financial dealings.
The Kenyatta case was found after sifting through some 11.9 million files in total. Journalists found that Kenyatta and his family have sheltered more than US$30 million in at least seven different entities set up as foundations, or as companies used as tax havens.
Two were registered in Panama and five in the British Virgin Islands, according to the ICIJ.
“One BVI company owned a home in central London, according to the records, and two other companies held investment portfolios worth tens of millions of dollars,” said Will Fitzgibbon, writing for ICIJ as its Africa coordinator.
“The Kenyattas’ offshore wealth, revealed here for the first time, represents part of an estimated half-billion-dollar family fortune amassed in a country where the average annual salary is less than $8,000 a year.”
Beyond Kenya’s overall poverty, the Kenyatta holdings are juxtaposed against the public commitments of a president whose focus has been on ending corruption and promoting transparency.
On Monday, the Kenyatta administration issued a statement saying the ICIJ investigation, and any audits that follow, will “lift that veil of secrecy and darkness for those who can not explain their assets or wealth.”
Image: Kenya Presidency file