Uhuru Defends Offshore Wealth at UN Meeting

An undated photo of President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre) and his mother, Mama Ngina Kenyatta at a past event.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was forced to respond to international media scrutiny on the leaked Pandora Papers while chairing the United Nations Security Council meeting on Tuesday, October 12. 

Uhuru, defended his family against allegations that they had stashed billions in offshore accounts in Panama and the British Virgin Islands. 

The Head of State noted that his name was not mentioned in the leaks nor was he directly linked with the exposé. 

“As I said before, my name first and foremost is not there,” Uhuru stated after journalists insisted that he was roped into the tax havens report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). 

The British Virgin Islands in the UK

He insisted that the Pandora Papers never justified any unlawful activities. 

“There has been no mention of any wrongdoing on my part,” he added. 

Uhuru further reiterated that he would address the issue comprehensively upon his return to Kenya. 

This assurance, was part of his earlier response to the Pandora Papers, hours after the report was published globally by investigative journalists on Sunday, October 3.

In Kenya, veteran journalist John Allan Namu’s Africa Uncensored led in exposing the tax havens where billionaires, politicians and celebrities stash their wealth. 

In his statement released by State House on the day after, Uhuru stated that the report and any other audits will set the record straight and unveil secrets for those who cannot explain sources of their wealth.

"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 graft thrive in an environment of secrecy and darkness," stated the President.

"The Pandora Papers and subsequent follow-up audits will lift that veil of secrecy and darkness for those who can not explain their assets or wealth. Thank you,” he responded. 

His siblings, together with his mother, Mama Ngina Kenyatta, were accused of having offshore accounts and companies worth over Ksh3 billion. 

ICIJ, however, clarified that it is not unlawful to use offshore entities.

“While owning an offshore company is legal, the secrecy it provides can give cover to illicit money flows, enabling bribery, money laundering, and human trafficking,” ICIJ further noted. 

Panama, a transcontinental country in Central America and South America