A former minister and head of public service has been linked to offshore transactions based on documents of Bermuda-based law firm Appleby.
The leaked documents, mined by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, show former Agriculture Minister Sally Kosgei used Mauritius to afford an apartment worth millions of US dollars in central London.
This revelation is contained in ICIJ’s Paradise Papers that reveal offshore transactions of more than 120 politicians and political leaders around the world.
According to the ICIJ, Kosgei owned Zonrisa Ltd, a Mauritius company previously registered in the Isle of Man as Aisha Ltd.
“Zonrisa owned an apartment in central London near Harrods department store in 2001 which cost $1 million (Sh103.7 million), according to emails sent to Appleby,” ICIJ says in its brief.
It adds that Kosgei owned her offshore company in April 2001, when she began work as cabinet secretary in the Office of the President.
“Kosgei’s ownership continued throughout her tenure as one of Kenya’s most powerful politicians,” ICIJ says.
It adds that documents sent to Appleby confirmed Aisha Ltd would use money from Kosgei’s company in Kenya – Zena Roses Ltd – to buy the London home.
The 70-hectare Kenyan flower farm company exports roses to Europe.
In response to the revelation, Kosgei told ICIJ she bought the flat using personal funds before becoming the head of Kenya’s public service and that she expected to spend time in the United Kingdom due to her children’s studies.
“There is no relation whatsoever between the purchase and date of my work in the Office of the President,” Kosgei said, adding she acted on lawyer’s advice.
She noted it is not unlawful for Kenyans to buy property through offshore companies and that she had “satisfied all obligations (legal, professional and ethical) as a public official in Kenya”.
She also said she declared everything required.
There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any people, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.
Many people and entities have the same or similar names. We suggest you confirm the identities of any individuals or entities located in the database based on addresses or other identifiable information. -The Star