YOUR BUSINESS IS OUR BUSINESS: Congrats, amnesty initiative… It’s working!

Thursday September 20 2018


‘Kenya recovers Ksh5.9 billion stashed in Indian banks,’ screamed the title to a press report by TIMOTHY MAINA, published on-line [] on September 11 this year.

Stressing that ‘Kenya has recovered approximately Ksh5.9 billion stashed in Indian banks by wealthy Indian families,’ the reporter added that “quarterly data compiled by the State Level Bankers Committee in Gujarat show that the money was returned between April and June this year. “According to the Times of India, the larger part of the money was recorded to be from Bhuj and Mandvi Talukas native to Gujaratis who have settled in Kenya.”

I went on reading…

“The massive withdrawals are meant to avoid penalty or tax on their income stashed outside Kenya,” the Times of India reported...

Apparently, the cash withdrawals were done by the account holders to take advantage of a tax amnesty extended by the Kenya Government of President Uhuru Jomo Kenyatta-wa-Kenyatta.

Kenya amended its Tax Procedures Act in 2016 to provide for an amnesty on taxable income earned outside the country – on condition that it was so-declared.

The government recently vowed to “get back all the monies stashed in foreign banks illegally.” In that regard, Treasury Cabinet Secretary (Minister) Henry Rotich announced that Kenyans with wealth abroad have one year to repatriate it.

To that end, President Kenyatta and his Swiss counterpart, Alain Berset, signed an agreement last August “that will see to the reclamation of funds and properties acquired through graft, and stashed in Swiss banks.”

Titled ‘Framework for the Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime in Kenya,’ the agreement targets cash linked to the Anglo Leasing Finance scandal. That was a corruption scandal related to the Kenya government’s move to replace its passport-printing system in 1997, revealed in year-2002…

According to press reports, data by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) has revealed moneys deposited in Switzerland by Kenyan tycoons had reached 950 million Swiss francs (Ksh96 billion) by the end of 2017. The amount rose by 4.3 per cent, from 911 million Swiss francs (Ksh92.4 billion) in 2016.

[Exchange rates on September 13, 2018: 1 Swiss franc = Tsh2361.23; 100 Ksh = Tsh2,256].

The funds include deposits and fiduciary liabilities. These latter are moneys held by Swiss banks in trust on behalf of Kenyans. [Google for ‘Billions stashed in Swiss banks by Kenyan tycoons;’ : August 21, 2018].

The point here today is that the amnesty stratagem can work wonders!

As noted in these pages last September 13, Kenya embarked upon the amnesty stratagem to get illegally-obtained resources invested in the country – at no pain of penalty for the ma-Fisadi (thieves of a Grand Order) who complied with the amnesty’s terms to come clean.

Perhaps as the Sisters of Fate would have it, the President Magufuli government of Tanzania had also embarked upon the stratagem. This was with a view to cornering tax evaders into also coming clean, paying the principal tax owing – on condition that they’d have the interest and penalty due thereon waived.

Unlike Kenya next-door, the Tanzanian amnesty offer – which expires on November 30 this year – is yet to bear fruit. But, as they say: the vulture is a patient bird…’ Cheers!