President Uhuru Kenyatta has responded to revelations of the hidden wealth of billionaires and heads of government in a report published by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalism (ICIJ).
In a statement released Monday afternoon by President Kanze’s spokesperson Dena Mararo, Kenyatta says the reports will improve financial transparency and openness in Kenya and around the world.
The vast trove of documents referred to as Pandora Papers names President Kenyatta and his family members among a dozen world leaders as the secret owners of a network of offshore companies.
“The movement of illicit funds, proceeds of crime and corruption thrive in an environment of secrecy and darkness,” said Mr. Kenyatta.
“The Pandora Papers and subsequent follow-up audits will lift that veil of secrecy and obscurity for those who cannot explain their assets or wealth.”
The president did not address the claims of the reports on the Kenyatta family’s wealth, only saying that he would “respond comprehensively” upon returning from a state visit to the Americas.
Kenyatta was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday for the swearing-in of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmend for his second term.
About 35 current and former leaders appear in approximately 11.9 million leaked documents from financial services companies around the world that include reports from luxury homes on the French Riviera, Monte Carlo and California.
The allegations in the Pandora Papers range from corruption to money laundering and tax evasion.
While keeping assets abroad or using shell companies is not illegal in most countries, the disclosures are embarrassing for leaders who have pushed for austerity measures or campaigned against corruption.
The revelations have been met with government denials, allegations of foreign influence, and the announcement of an official investigation.
-Additional AFP report