Connect with us

General

Drama and chaos as MPs vote for tax

Published

on

Loading...


By IBRAHIM ORUKO
More by this Author

By SAMWEL OWINO
More by this Author

By DAVID MWERE
More by this Author

Parliament on Thursday endorsed the Presidential reservations on the Finance Bill, 2018, in a chaotic sitting, at the end of which the House was sharply divided on the manner in which a tax on fuel was adopted.

With the victory, the Executive has the power to raise up to Sh130 billion through the eight percent levy on fuel products that will see about Sh17.5 billion realised from sugar confectioneries (Sh475 million), money transfers (Sh11.4 billion), betting companies and winners (Sh30 billion), housing fund (10 billion) and kerosene (Sh9.8 billion).

The memorandum proposed a deletion of 0.05 percent “Robin Hood” tax regime, which had been proposed on the money transfers of at least Sh500,000.

The government plans to recoup the lost revenue through the 20 percent imposed on the charges banks levy on customers in money transfers, meaning that the transfer charges could still go up.

There is also a new proposal to increase the price of kerosene by Sh18 a litre to check against adulteration, as well as split the current 35 percent tax on betting companies to include the winners.

This targets to raise Sh9.8 billion. Betting companies will be charged 15 percent on top of the 30 percent they pay on corporate income, while the winners will have to surrender 20 percent of their winnings to the State.

But it was not easy sailing for the executive as MPs accused the Speaker of having rigged the poll, arguing that it was clear those opposed to the memo had won.

MPs Tom Kajwang’, Vincent Tuwei, Mohammed Ali, Makali Mulu and Millie Odhiambo objected to the decision by Ms Soipan Tuya to give victory to the ayes; and through chants and boos forced the Speaker back to the floor.

The moment it was clear that pro-Kenyatta side was in danger of losing, Majority Leader Aden Duale was captured whipping members out of the House, presumably to deny it the requisite two-thirds majority that would have seen the memo thrown out.

Loading...

Later, Mr Duale confirmed having forced some MPs from the chambers, arguing that as the majority leader, his plan was to deny those opposing the numbers and ensure that the government agenda was achieved.

After the House adjourned, MPs opposed to the memo cried foul, arguing that that the Executive had rigged the vote in collusion with the House leadership.

Speaking to journalists after the adjournment, Laikipia Woman Representative Catherine Waruguru expressed anger at what she described as dictatorship displayed in the House.

“Mr President, stamp your authority and don’t be swayed by cheap politics around Parliament,” she protested even as MPs vowed to fight on.

Boos, jeers and singing of “Bado mapambano” (the struggle continues) rent the air as many MPs appeared to have found an issue around which they could unite, with some chanting “zero!” in reference to their push to have tax on fuel removed, arguing that its introduction would make life difficult for the ordinary person.

At one point, an enraged House shouted down Speaker Justin Muturi and Clerk Michael Sialai, accusing them of being part of a scheme to introduce the fuel tax through the back door.

All had seemed quiet and normal as the MPs arrived in the House in the morning for the sitting that had been specially created to allow members to discuss the Supplementary Financial Estimates and the Presidential reservations on the Finance Bill.

The first sign emerged when Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa stood on a point of order and sought to amend the Order Paper to reorganise the business of the day.

In his presentation, Mr Wamalwa wanted the President’s reservation on the Finance Bill debated ahead of the debate on the estimates.

An adamant Speaker refused and informed the House that the order of business was cast in stone, and they had to conduct it the way the House Business Committee had planned it.

The MPs went on to easily approve the Supplementary financial estimates, arguing that they had no problem with the decision by the Executive to reorganise allocations due to various departments and ministries.

In the estimates, Treasury had slashed Sh37.6 million from the Sh3.026 trillion budget for the current financial year.

The approval of the budget now gives the government legal backing to spend the reorganised budget once it is signed into law by the President.

But everything went wrong in the afternoon during the debate on the Presidential memorandum.

From the onset, it was clear many lawmakers were opposed to the President’s reservations.

The moment the Speaker left the House and Ms Tuya took over to steer the business in the committee of the whole, the MPs started chanting “zero” in reference to their desire to have fuel products zero rated, opposing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s eight percent proposal.

The chants were more pronounced on the left of the Speaker, seats usually occupied by the minority Nasa coalition, where Ruaraka MP TJ Kajwang’ proved an effective leader.

On the right of the Speaker, a section of Jubilee MPs were equally unhappy with the President’s recommendations but chose a different way of expressing their misgivings, maybe for fear of victimisation.

Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju arrived in Parliament early in the day just to ensure that the President had his way.

He was joined by party Vice-Chairman David Murathe in the afternoon after it became clear that things were not going well. The endless jeers prompted the speaker to come back to the house.

After listening to five members from both the majority and the minority, the Speaker ruled that a second round of voting would take place as there was a dispute over the numbers of the members present in the House when the question was put.

He then called for a 15-minute break but when the House resumed, the Speaker had changed mind.

Quoting from the Hansard, he upheld the decision that indicated that the House had adopted the President’s memo on VAT on fuel, attracting more chants and boos.

MPs who talked to the Nation and did not want to be named said they cannot go against the decision of their party leaders.

“People listen to Raila Odinga more than me. He can explain to them later what happened but I cannot, so let me just support the President’s memorandum,” a first term opposition MP said.

Most of MPs found themselves having to choose between what they thought were the interests of their electorate and the instructions of their party leaders: A majority chose to simply take instructions.

Minority Leader John Mbadi – while supporting the memorandum – said in the Finance Bill taken to the President for assent, there was no proposal for zero rating of VAT on petroleum products.

Mr Mbadi was, however, booed by his colleagues who shouted “zero…zero…zero” and was forced to cut short his remarks.

On Wednesday, Mr Duale said while the MPs want to stand with the public on VAT, there is also need to raise money for development and government projects.



Loading...

General

Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

Published

on

Loading...

Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
[email protected]    

Loading...

Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –

Published

on

Loading...

Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

Loading...

“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

Published

on

Loading...

Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

Loading...
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Loading...
Advertisement
Loading...

Trending

Kenyan Tribune