Allan Namu: Why I Was Disappointed After Exposing Kenyatta’s Offshore Wealth

Undated Photo of Investigative Journalist John Allan Namu
Undated Photo of Investigative Journalist John Allan Namu
Standard Digital

Investigative Journalist John Allan Namu has opened up on the disappointing aftermath of exposing the Kenyatta's family offshore wealth through the Pandora papers.

During an interview on a local TV station on Tuesday, October 12, Namu noted that 24 hours after publishing the leaks, he felt disappointed. He added that the disappointment grew to an extent that he even felt lonely together with other journalists he collaborated with to release the papers.

The award-winning journalist narrated that he was unhappy after his masterpiece received low reception as earlier projected. He opened up that the Kenyan media gave the expose little coverage despite his piece going viral globally.

Undated Photo of Investigative Journalist John Allan Namu
Undated Photo of Investigative Journalist John Allan Namu
John Allan Namu Instagram Page

According to Namu, he only received sidebar coverage 24 hours after releasing the report. He remarked that only other media houses which are out of the mainstream tried to further drive the conversation about the leaks.

However, he stated his leak received much-needed prominence after President Uhuru Kenyatta responded to the report. The response came 48 hours later. This gave mainstream media the leeway to further dig deeper into the content of his investigative piece.

"In the first 24 hours since the leak was published, I was quite disappointed, I felt very lonely as a Kenyan reporter myself and Purity Mukami and all of us who were involved in reporting this leak, I felt disappointed that what was perceived as the biggest story in the world was being unreported in the Kenyan media," Namu stated.

He added, "What for me was strange was the marker of the uptake of coverage from where I sat is when President Kenyatta responded to the publication of these leaks. Over time there was a lot better coverage."

After the leaks got much-needed coverage, Namu stated that he was not involved in the driving of the conversation and how the dialogue was being framed around the leaks. The celebrated journalist said that most reporters decided to pursue the legal aspects surrounding the Pandora papers report.

The Pandora Papers, the biggest leak of financial papers in history and containing 12 million files and obtained by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) linked Kenyatta's family to offshore bank accounts and companies valued at over Ksh3.3 billion. The financial leaks detailed that Kenyatta’s family led by Mama Ngina Kenyatta, the incumbent President, his sisters, and brothers, have amassed wealth offshore and in the tax havens of Panama and the British Virgin Islands. 

Uhuru defending his family during a United Nations Security Council meeting on Tuesday, October 12, denied allegations that his family has stashed wealth in offshore foundations and estates. He told the diplomats that his name is not directly linked to any of the mentioned accounts.

“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)," Uhuru stated.

He added, “There has been no mention of any wrongdoing on my part."

In his earlier response, Uhuru had welcomed the investigative report noting that it was going to shed light the financial transparency and openness. He hinted at opening audits to further enhance financial integrity and transparency.

"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.

Undated Photo of President Uhuru Kenyatta Addressing the Nation
Undated Photo of President Uhuru Kenyatta Addressing the Nation