5 Islands Where Kenyan Billionaires Stash Their Wealth

  • The Coast line of the famous Jersey Island
    The Coast line of the famous Jersey Island
    File
  • For years, Kenyan government has been pursuing wealthy individuals that have seemingly devised new ways to avoid paying the much-needed taxes.

    The exposés in the Panama and Pandora papers uncovered the extend to which individuals and dynasty's, some with influential connections in government, are willing to go to ensure that their wealth remains untouched. It is estimated that over Ksh5 trillion has been hidden by Kenyans in offshore accounts.

    While the practice is not considered illegal, it can have devastating effects on the country's development and economy.

    Here are some of the most preferred islands where billionaires hide their billions.

    1. Jersey Islands

    Ranking at the top of the list, it seems Kenyan tycoons have fallen in love with Jersey Islands' capability to help them evade taxes.

    The island is located south of England's coast and 12 miles (19 km) west of the Cotentin peninsula of France. Most individuals who have been accused of stashing the cash on the island are said to use lax tax regimen to launder money.

    For decades now, former Kenya Power managing director Samuel Gichuru and ex-Energy minister Chris Okemo have been fighting a claim of stashing up to Ksh520 million in the island.

    The Kenyan government as well as the Royal Court in the Jersey are working to have the two leaders extradited. World tycoons also favour the Island as a safe haven for their wealth.

    2. Cayman Islands

    The Coastline of one of the Cayman Islands
    The Coastline of one of the Cayman Islands.
    File

    The Cayman Islands have been at the center of the money laundering claims for quite some time since becoming the one of most preferred destinations for drug trafficking.

    Located South of Cuba, the territory comprises of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Cayman which measure 264 square kilometers.

    It is also known  for having more companies than its population of about 60,000. It is said to have wealth of more than Ksh200 trillion stashed there from across the world.

    3. British Virgin Islands

    Kenyan tycoons have also been going to the British Virgin Islands to hide their wealth from the ever-gazing eyes of the taxman.

    The islands are located near Puerto Rico in the Caribbean and has a combined population of about 23,000 individuals who occupy 60 islands.

    The tycoons have preferred the destination because it has a 'ask-no-questions, see-no-evil company incorporation regime,' as per the Tax Justice Network (TJN) report.

    The islands were at the center of the 2021 Pandora Papers exposé which named the Kenya's First family as having interest on the islands.

    4. Channel Islands

    As much as Kenyan tycoons are hiding their wealth in the Channel Islands, the country has also proved beneficial to those who are seeking jobs.

    Channel Islands are a cluster of independent countries located in the English Channel off the French Coast and they include the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey. They have a combined population of 170,000 people.

    The island is believed to collectively hold wealth worth Ksh569 billion.

    In 2021, many Kenyans began securing jobs in the tax haven where over 100 people were hired since April 2021 when the first cohort left the country.

    The companies have also expressed interest in hiring more workers as the countries experience severe shortage of hotel staff..

    5. Mauritius

    Some Kenyan billionaires did not, however, have to look outside the continent to find a perfect place to hide their wealth.

    Located 1,130 kilometres east of Madagascar, off the south-eastern coast of Africa, Mauritius was, in 2016, ranked among the country's worst tax havens.

    In the years that followed, several Kenyans handed over their wealth to the nation in huge proportions to a point where in 2018, Kenya and Mauritius signed a deal in a bid to repatriate wealth back to the country.

    An image of Mauritius Island in the Indian Ocean.
    An image of Mauritius Island in the Indian Ocean.
    File
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