Two officials from the Horn of Africa have so far been identified in the Panama Papers.

The Panama Papers is a trove of more than 11 million files leaked from a law firm in Panama. The law firm, Mossack Fonseca, is a known for facilitating financial arrangement for the rich and powerful to hide assets in offshore accounts. Though the practice is not always illegal, it is often used to evade tax and hide stolen money.

A team of journalist from a German newspaper and a consortium of investigative journalists is analyzing the files. It may take weeks, if not more, before the full content of the papers is revealed. HornAffairs will be reporting on the revelation relevant to the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia.

So far, two officials from the Horn of Africa have been linked to the files: Kalpana Rawal, Deputy Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Kenya, and Ahmad Ali al-Mirghani, former President of Sudan.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists summarized the information of the two officials as follows:

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Kalpana Rawal

Deputy Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Kenya (2013-present); Judge, Court of Appeals (2012-2013)

Photo - Kenya Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal
Photo – Kenya Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal

Inside the Mossack Fonseca data  Used offshore companies to buy and sell London real estate

Rawal and her husband were directors of two companies based in the British Virgin Islands, prior to her joining the nation’s Supreme Court. The family used other offshore companies to buy and sell real estate in London and nearby Surrey. Montague Real Estate SA was used in 2004 to buy a London flat for $1.12 million, which they sold in 2006. Innovate Global Limited was used to buy a house in Surrey for $2.74 million and a London apartment which they bought for $967,000 in 2004 and sold for $1.62 million in 2013. Through Arklyn International Limited, they bought another two London apartments, one bought for $1.66 million in 2005 and sold for $2.23 million in 2011, and the other bought for $1.57 million in 2005 and sold for $2.15 million in 2012.

Response

Rawal said she has not been involved with the family businesses except for generally knowing they were involved in real estate. She was listed as director on two of them without her knowledge by her husband when he was told two directors were required, she said. The first one never did any transactions and is dormant. The second one acquired a property. “My family members include my two adult sons residing in London, both of whom are British subjects and run the business as per the laws applicable in U.K.” She said has never had “any involvement direct or indirect and have no interest or control” in the other companies.

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Ahmad Ali al-Mirghani

President of Sudan (1986-1989)

Ahmad Ali al-Mirghani, who died in November 2008, was the democratically-elected president of Sudan from May 1986 until he was overthrown by a coup in June 1989 by the current president General Omar al-Bashir. Al-Mirghani belonged to an eminent family that traced its lineage back to the Prophet Muhammad. Following the coup, al-Mirghani sought exile in Egypt, from where he maintained an important role in the opposition Democratic Unionist Party. He remained based in Egypt until his death.

Photo - former President of Sudan Ahmad Ali al-Mirghani
Photo – former President of Sudan Ahmad Ali al-Mirghani

Inside the Mossack Fonseca data  Offshore company owned a London apartment

Al-Mirghani was the owner of the British Virgin Islands company Orange Star Corporation, created in 1995. That same year, Orange Star Corporation purchased a long lease of an apartment in an expensive area of London north of Hyde Park for more than $600,000 . At the time of al-Mirghani’s death, he held assets through the company worth $2.72 million.

Response

Al-Mirghani’s estate did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Al-Mirghani died in 2008.

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