PETITION

Parliament asked to expedite return of billions stashed offshore

Petitioners want names of those with illicit assets and bank accounts made public.

In Summary
  • Committee is expected to probe the matter within the next 60 days and report back to the House.
  • MPs backed the petition calling for decisive action against those looting the country.
Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi during a press briefing at Parliament Buildings on Thursday, March 21, 2018
SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS: Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi during a press briefing at Parliament Buildings on Thursday, March 21, 2018
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

Lobby groups have petitioned Parliament to expedite the repatriation of billions of shillings stashed away in offshore accounts.

Civil society groups involved in governance want the names of those with illicit assets and bank accounts made public.

The petition was presented to the House by Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi on Wednesday.

The same was referred to the National Assembly Finance and Planning Committee chaired by Homa Bay MP Gladys Wanga.

The Wanga-led committee is expected to probe the matter within the next 60 days and report back to the House.

It is estimated that since 2011, Kenya has been losing an average of Sh40 billion each year through illicit financial flows, which is a result of collusion between local firms and multinational fraudulent schemes to evade tax.

The petitioners argued that the billions held in private foreign accounts will not only boost the country’s economy especially in the recovery phase following Covid-19 pandemic but will also help the country repay the huge debt burden it is currently accumulating.

“While efforts are being made to repatriate stolen funds and unexplained assets through the framework for return of assets from corruption and crime with Switzerland, Jersey, and the United Kingdom through the Mutual Legal Assistance law, the country is yet to make any notable progress,” the petitioners said.

MPs - contributing on the matter – backed the petition, calling for decisive action against those who are looting the country and taking the same to foreign nations.

Igembe North MP Maoka Maore said the country should take advantage of deals with New Jersey and United Kingdom to bring back the cash.

“Let us take advantage of the Legal Mutual Assistance that we have signed with other countries especially the United Kingdom. Let the committee shed some light on what has been going on,” he said.

“The money can be repatriated and used for the welfare of the people,” Tharaka MP George Murugara said.

Kitui Central MP Makali Mulu termed the practice sensitive and urged the committee not to leave any stone unturned.

Edited by Henry Makori