More Kenyans on Panama Papers list

Thursday May 12 2016

This photo taken on May 9, 2016 shows a view of

This photo taken on May 9, 2016 shows a view of the facade of the building where Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm offices are in Panama City. AFP PHOTO  

By JACQUELINE KUBANIA
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A son of former Imperial Bank chairman Alnashir Popat and three other Kenyans have been named among individuals with companies registered in tax havens.

Aly Popat is named in a trove of documents released on Monday as a shareholder of Imcap International, registered in the British Virgin Islands.

He is the managing director of Imaran Group, a private investment firm chaired by his father. The now-collapsed Imperial Bank teamed up with Imaran Group in 2014 to build Tune Hotel in Westlands at a cost of Sh2.2 billion.

The papers newly released by the International Consortium of International Journalists name 191 individuals and 25 offshore companies as having links to Kenya.

The companies and bank accounts named in the data leaks used Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca as the registration agent.

Included in the so-called Panama Papers is lawyer James Gitau Singh, who heads Singh Gitau advocates, and is also a former chairman of the Youth Enterprise Fund.

He is named as a shareholder of Athena International Corp, registered in Anguilla, a British territory in the Caribbean.

Also named is businessman Humphrey Kariuki Ndegwa, the founder of Dalbit Petroleum, a distribution company operating in Kenya and the East African region. He is listed as a shareholder in Belgravia Services, registered in Seychelles.

A former managing director of National Oil Corporation Kenya, Mwendia Nyaga, is listed as a shareholder of Abantu Oil and Gas Limited, registered in the British Virgin Islands. He is currently the chief executive of Oil and Energy Services, a consultancy firm operating in East Africa.

Tax havens are popular with individuals or entities because of their flexible tax laws.

The Kenya Revenue Authority in February this year signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, which has been described as the most powerful multilateral instrument against offshore tax evasion and avoidance.

In addition, the newly enacted Tax Procedures Act 2015 imposes stiff penalties on individuals and entities involved in international tax avoidance schemes.