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EACC turns to accounts to smoke out graft suspects

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Former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero
Former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Bank transactions emerged as the new weapon of netting corruption suspects with a good share of them at pains to explain the source of their wealth.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) increasingly turned to bank statements to reveal gaps between the suspects’ earnings and flow of funds to their bank accounts.

Former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero was top in the list of persons who have been fighting to clear their names over what the EACC calls the mismatch between their pay and wealth.

Others are the wife of a Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) employee, former City Hall accountant Stephen Osiro and former City Hall Chief Finance Officer Jimmy Mutuku Kiamba.

Deputy Chief justice Philomena Mwilu was charged on suspicion of corruption, failure to pay taxes and improper dealings with Imperial Bank, which are at centre of investigations.

The State has seized some of the assets and is pushing courts to allow the transfer of the wealth to the public.

“Tracking down of flow of funds through banks has made the work of graft investigators easier and it’s bearing fruits. We are seeing assets seizures,” said an EACC lawyer.

The State took Sh19.6 million in three bank accounts belonging to the wife of KRA employee after the High Court ruled that the cash is proceeds of crime.

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The accounts belong to Pamela Abbo and court documents show she was unable to prove legitimate source of the millions, which were believed to have come from her husband — Alex Mukhwana Khisa.

She claimed the huge cash deposits were income from a transport, cereals trading and sugar businesses, but was unable to offer evidence of their dealings and tax payments.

This made it second high- profile transfer of assets from individuals following court actions that ruled the properties were linked to fraudulent dealings.

In September, the State took ownership of a Sh48.5 million luxury five-bedroom apartment in Lavington, Nairobi, bought with funds stolen from the Youth Enterprise Development Fund.

Dr Kidero is also being asked to explain how he acquired Sh9 billion properties including hundreds of millions in bank accounts with the EACC saying his earnings over his working life are not even five percent of his worth.

Mr Osiro is also fighting to hold on to a fortune worth nearly Sh500,000 that includes properties, Sh213.3 million spread across six banks accounts and luxury cars.

The EACC reckons that the cash is proceeds of crime, arguing that it was impossible to acquire assets worth Sh329.9 million over the 60 months to April 2016 when he earned Sh109, 375 average monthly pay.

Mr Osiro has also been cited in court to have deposited millions of shillings into accounts of his former boss Jimmy Kiamba who is also accused of stashing Sh1.3 billion believe

d to be proceeds of crime.

EACC said the Sh1.3 billion deposits could not be built by man whose net income over the 55 months was Sh5.8 million or an average monthly pay of Sh105,454 and servicing loans amounting to Sh180.7 million.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.

“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.

He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.

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People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.

For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.

Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.

“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”

According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.

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Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans

The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.

Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.

Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options. 

This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.

The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.

The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.

The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).

The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.

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The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour;  Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).

The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.

Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”

He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.

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