An investigative report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has revealed how senior government officials are using shell companies to loot the government dry, as well as avoid taxes.
A report released last night reveals the extent of the rot, with several officials using Mauritius as the major tax haven.
Among those implicated is ICT CS Joe Mucheru, who is a shareholder at the Umati Capital, a credit facility company. Other shareholders include Dominic Kiarie (address in Kenya), Anne Marie van Swinderen (address in The Netherlands), Ace Micro Services Limited (address in Kenya), Dataposit Limited (address in Kenya), Ivan Kyeswa Joseph Mbowa (address in Kenya) and Munyutu Waigi (address in Kenya).
Another company, Lamu Oil and Gas Ltd, owned by Qatar National Bank and Edgo Energy opened their embassy in Kenya in April 2012. On June 1, 2012 Lamu Oil and Gas Ltd was opened in Mauritius, and won the block concessions a month later.
Four companies associated with Lamu Oil were registered on the same day, on June 1, 2012. Two have since ‘died’ while two are still active.
One of the companies is Tana Oil and Gas Limited, owned by Mohammed Abdirahman Hassan, who is the current chairman of National Bank.
“According to a business plan dated in 2012, Mohamed Abdirahman intends to invest through Mauritius and incorporate a Global Business Licence Category 2 company. The Mauritius company will be a shareholder of a Mauritius company involved in two concessions in Kenya. The Company will form part of a group business activities which are focused on investments with particular focus on the industrial, oil and gas, manufacturing, healthcare and education sectors, and in this particular case in Kenya,” found out ICIJ.
Another one was Trident Enterprises, which was opened to anchor this rather roundabout sale, leasing, and sub-leasing of two aircraft to a Kenyan company, DAC Aviation.
African Automotive Trading was registered in Mauritius in May 14, 2014, with operations in Malawi, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Uganda. The company is linked to Cfao, a South African motor vehicle company.
Another one, AntHill Holdings Ltd, was registered in the alleged tax haven in June 9, 2014, and has operations in Kenya and Ethiopia. Its directors could not be traced.
Another one, QF Energy L14 Ltd was registered in June 2012 with the director being Scott Samuel Strachan (since 2 July 2012-) and Hani Katra (from March 5 2015). Former directors include Emad Mansour (June 1, 2012 – July 31, 2013), Tareq Adnan Amin Shabib (July 31 2013 – January 8, 2015). Mansour and Amin were also listed as founding directors of all Lamu Basin companies among others. This pointed to a possibility that they could have been used to register shell companies in Mauritius and then handing them over to the owners after a few years of ‘operation’.
A similar company, QF Energy L26 Ltd was registered on the same day, June 1, 2012 with Emad Mansour as the director, and Scott Strachan joining him a month later on July 2, 2012.
Trident Enterprises Limited is yet another Kenyan company registered in Mauritius, without an exact date of registration, with Emmanuel Anassis and Alain Desrocher registered as directors. The company is linked with MG Kenya Leasing Limited, and Irish company based in Kenya.
Coincidentally, all the companies mentioned in the report were registered in or after May 12, 2012, when the Kenyan and Mauritian governments signed a Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).
The treaty allows residents of a third country to design their business structures to take the advantage of DTAAs of a country with another country and avoid the payment of tax.
This has been seen by experts as a loophole to money laundering in countries where corruption is rampant in Kenya.
However, in March this year, the High Court declared the DTAA void and unconstitutional.