Wealthy Kenyans stash Sh96bn in Swiss banks
Money stashed by rich Kenyans in Switzerland banks rose last year even as pressure against ﬁnancial secrecy by Swiss and Kenyan authorities mounted.
The total amount went up 4.3 per cent to Swiss francs 950 million (CHF) or about Sh96 billion last year from 911.4 million or about Sh92.1 billion in 2016.
The new amount can fund the construction of three equivalents of Thika superhighway (50 kilometres each).
The numbers are contained in a new report by the Swiss National Bank (SNB), the country’s central bank. The funds, however, once reached a record high of CHF 1.7 billion (Sh172 billion) in 2007. These funds include deposits from Kenyans and ﬁduciary liabilities or money held in Swiss banks in trust on behalf of Kenyans.
Until it loosened its secrecy, Switzerland was considered among the top dirty-cash havens.
The latest Zurich-based SNB data comes as Kenya and Switzerland continue the clamp down on dirty cash.
Last week, Kenya and Switzerland inked a pact that paves the way for reclamation of funds and property acquired through proceeds of graft and stashed abroad.
Nigeria is set to receive billions from Switzerland.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Swiss counterpart Alain Berset signed the new deal dubbed Framework for the Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime in Kenya during the latter’s visit to Kenya.
“We have seen, in the last few months, a new intensity in the fight against corruption in Kenya. Quite frankly, my administration has shown that corruption cannot, and, will not, be tolerated,” President Kenyatta said.
According to the presidency, the first funds the framework will target include cash linked to the Anglo Leasing scandal.
Treasury secretary Henry Rotich recently added Kenyans with wealth abroad one more year to repatriate it, keeping the amnesty window open beyond the June 2018 deadline.
The fresh data indicates Kenyans holding undisclosed funds in Swiss banks have not made use of a State tax amnesty to declare the money and repatriate it to remain eligible.