Kenyan Politicians and Businessmen Anxious as UK’s NCA Freezes Billions of ”dirty money”
5 billion shillings London home owned by a Pakistani businessman has been seized by the National Crime Agency (NCA) in a swoop on shillings 19 billion of suspected illicit wealth.
The property at 1 Hyde Park Place was surrenderd to law enforcers by Malik Riaz Hussain in a court settlement. He has also given up another shillings 1.4 billion held in British bank accounts in what is the biggest seizure of assets by the agency so far in its purge on alleged ”dirty money”. All the money will be returned to the state of Pakistan. The NCA described Hussain as the boss of “one of the biggest private sector employers in Pakistan”. Bahria Town specialises in properties that replicate famous buildings such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and even whole squares, such as Trafalgar Square in London. They are aimed at wealthy Pakistanis as well as immigrants.
The NCA said it had ”agreed a settelement figure with a family that owns large property development in Pakistan and elsewhere” after an investigation. It is the largest amount frozen in a NSA investigation since the Criminal Finances Act 2017 came into force. The legislation gives police greater powers to crack down on people attempting to launder money through the UK.
It follows eight account freezing orders covering shillings 1.2 billion imposed by Westminister magistrate last August relating to money held by Mr Hussain. The court had approved an earlier shillings 2 billion freezing order in connection with another of his accounts.
Some politicians and business people in Kenya are said to have been worried by the development. Close to 3 trillion shillings belonging to former and current politicians and business people from Kenya is estimated to be in foreign banks and multi-billion shillings properties in the UK and other European cities. This is said to be proceeds of corruption and other illicit activities. Some small EU countries are rumoured to be running their entire economy on tax gained from billions stolen from African states by politicians and their families, drug lords and cohorts who hide their illicit money in foreign banks.
In 2003 a Kroll report that was not made public by the administration of President Kibaki, it is estimated that more than Ksh 200 billion is in properties and bank accounts belonging to the Moi family, former Kenya president. Kibaki’s adminsitration has not acted on this report.
As Kenya is in economic meltdown and the so-called war on corruption is not yielding much, some Kenyans are calling for the government to act bold, ask agencies like the NCA to help recover assets in foreign countries and freeze and return money held in foreign bank accounts by ”those who looted the country”. Some economists estimate the money held by some departed and current politicians and their families in European tax havens to be eqvuivakent to entire Kenya GDP. The country is feared to slide into an economic recession as inflation rises and Kenyans feel the pinch. Few weeks ago the President was heard in a video that has since gone viral to mourn why the citizens do not have money.
The Pakistan government of President Imran Khan is said to have requested the UK NCA to help recover money stolen from the country, a move many Kenyans say will lie to see happen for theior country too. The NCA has in 2015 prosecuted British printing firm Millionare Nicholas Smith who has since served a 3 years jail term in a scandal dubbed ”chickengate” in his role of bribing Kenyan bureaucrats and tenderpreneurs to win multimillion-shilling contracts, Mr Smith, convicted of giving millions of shillings in kickbacks to officials at the then Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) and the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) in order to win tenders for ballot and exam papers, respectively, became the poster boy for the “Chickengate” scandal that tainted electoral management practices — and the careers of officials — in the country. Besides serving his jail term, Mr Smith paid shillings 13 million in fines and legal fees. None of the Kenyans involved have been arrested.