Kenya has been ranked 58th in a global list of countries with the most dollar deposits in Swiss banks, at a whopping Sh51.18 billion ($559.8 million).
This is according to a leaked report titled Swiss Leaks, compiled by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The report further states that the figure is shared among 742 clients. About 460 of the 742 clients collectively hold 1,093 accounts opened between 1975 and 2006, according to the report.
The account linked to Kenya with the highest amount of money has Sh3.27 billion, though the owner is unnamed. The only named owner of a Kenyan account of which the figure is not mentioned is Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama.
Muthama told ICIJ that the account was for a mining company. The report says Muthama is the executive chairman of Muthama Gemstones (Kenya) Ltd., a society that operates internationally, dealing with mines and precious stones.
The report added: “HSBC files recorded Muthama’s name in connection with the client account ‘ROCKLAND96’, which was set up in 1996 and closed in 2000. Muthama was also linked to the numbered client account ‘20443NM’ over the same period.
“Bank files listed eight of his relatives – and named Nduya Muthama – also linked to the numbered account. “The leaked files do not specify the exact role that he [Muthama] had in relation to the accounts.”
HSBC (the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation) is a British banking and financial services company headquartered in London and the world’s second largest bank. Muthama himself said, “This [the Swiss account] was necessary because of my foreign directors and partners. “The account was therefore opened to facilitate remittance of funds into one central account for the sole purpose of purchasing mining equipment and spare parts. Once the mine was set up, the account was consequently closed.”
ICIJ said those named in the report have not necessarily engaged in illegal activities. “There are legitimate uses for Swiss bank accounts and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Swiss Leaks interactive application have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly,” the organisation said.
Meanwhile, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has given all State and public officers until March 31 to close any foreign bank accounts they may be operating but have yet to be approved by the EACC.