The Pandora Papers – nearly 3TBs worth of data containing over 11.9-million records have implicated Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Kenya, and members of his family, including his mother ‘Mama’ Ngina Kenyatta, brother Muhoho Kenyatta, sisters, and others, in allegedly shielding their wealth from public scrutiny in tax havens across Panama and the British Virgin Islands.
The family, who have dominated Kenya’s government since Uhuru’s father Jomo Kenyatta became Kenya’s first president since independence in 1964, have reportedly been hiding assets worth more than $30-million according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, who compiled the records from 14 law firms and other service providers from ‘tax haven’ countries around the world from the United Arab Emirates to Singapore and others.
These particular records, which were released initially by a Panamanian law firm, apparently show that the Kenyattas owned at least seven such ‘tax haven’ entities, two registered anonymously in Panama and five in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
It is not yet known if Kenyatta had declared any of the off-shore companies apparently linked to his family to Kenya’s Ministry of Finance (as required by law) but the news has set Kenya’s social media ablaze.
#PandoraPapers is currently the number 1 trend on Kenya’s Twitter, followed by “Client 13173″, the number under which the Kenyattas have reportedly been listed by Union Bancaire Privée, one of the largest private banks in Switzerland which advises some of the world’s wealthiest people on how to manage their money.
Kenyan users on Twitter have been lashing out against the president, with some highlighting perceived disparities between Kenyatta’s wealth and the living conditions of many Kenyans are forced to live in:
— Reuben kaslow (@reuben_kaslow) October 4, 2021
Others have touched on Kenyatta’s apparent dealings with the Panamanian foundations, referring to him as “Client 13173.”
In Panama, client 13173 went and opened a whole foundation where they donated billions of Kenyan money then nominated themselves and their children as beneficiaries of the charitable work they had done to escape paying taxes and identification. This documentary is mind blowing !
— MUHAMMAD ONYANGO (@Moha001_Onyango) October 4, 2021
Step 1. Create a foreign foundation.
Step 2. Donate billions to it
Step 3. Name your family as beneficiaries
Step 4. Receive monthly payouts from it.
Step 5. Repeat it with multiple foundations.
This is exactly how Kenyatta client 13173 operates #PandoraPapers pic.twitter.com/HzmtLIIBPN
— Onorpik (@Onorpik) October 4, 2021
Kenyan media has also come into the crossfire, with users citing how many of the country’s news-producers have been mum on Kenyatta’s alleged connection to the Pandora Papers.
Kenya's media is Lock – Stock – Barrel in the pocket of Client 13173 https://t.co/qdNzz79GG1
— Gideon Ngumbau (@GideonArchitect) October 4, 2021
there is no credible media outlet in Kenya. media freedom is guaranteed but the owners and some managers are deep in the pockets of the head honcho of the govt. sad state of affairs
— Litunya Eshutchi (@GLitunya) October 4, 2021
Everyone: "Client 13173…panama…3.5 trillion in 2016…uhuru kenyatta…"
Media outlets: pic.twitter.com/4Rim6aDUsO
— Big Fish🦈 (@King_Shark007) October 4, 2021
According to Nation, President Kenyatta has responded to comments about the leak, saying that “The Pandora Papers and subsequent follow up audits will lift that veil of secrecy and darkness for those who can not explain their assets or wealth.”
Kenyatta has said that he will fully respond to allegations when he returns from an official visit to the Americas.