MPs seeking to recover stolen money hidden abroad

National Assembly

The National Assembly in session.
 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • It is estimated that Kenya has been losing an average of Sh40 billion annually through illicit financial flows since 2011.
  • Local companies and multinationals engage in fraudulent schemes to dodge taxes.

The National Assembly has launched investigations into the billions of shillings stashed abroad believed to belong to government officials.

Finance and Planning Committee is expected to report to the House on the amount of money in offshore accounts in 60 days.

It will work with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) on designing ways of returning the money.

The team chaired by Homa Bay Woman representative Gladys Wanga is acting on a petition by Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi presented to it by the Speaker on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Osotsi wants the committee to investigate the manner in which the money ends up in offshore accounts. He also wants the Assets and Recovery Agency and the EACC to speed up the recovery efforts.

Mr Osotsi wants the National Assembly to establish a mechanism that will ensure the repatriated assets are put to good use.

He wants the list of individuals, whether State officers or private citizens, with money abroad made public.

It is estimated that Kenya has been losing an average of Sh40 billion annually through illicit financial flows since 2011.

Local companies and multinationals engage in fraudulent schemes to dodge taxes.

Stolen money

“Getting the money will go a long way in boosting Kenya’s post-coronavirus recovery and help ease our debt burden,” Mr Osotsi said.

The lawmaker added that while efforts continue to repatriate the stolen money and assets jointly with Switzerland, the UK and other countries, Kenya has not made notable progress.

While supporting the petition, the lawmakers said time has come for the country to decisively deal with people milking the country dry and investing abroad.

Rarieda MP Otiende Amolo said the Constitution prohibits a State officer from having an account outside the country.

“There is a legitimate presumption that anyone who keeps money abroad most likely does not want to explain its source. We should look into that,” he said.

Tharaka MP George Murugara said the other pandemic ravaging Kenya is corruption. 

“The money stuffed abroad can be brought and used to help Kenyans,” Mr Murugara said.
Igembe North MP Maoka Maore said with the legal help from New Jersey and UK, the country can get the money back fast.

“Let us take advantage of the mutual assistance we signed with other countries. Let the committee move with speed and shed light on what has been happening,” Mr Maore said.

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