Kenyans have stashed illegal earnings from crime, corruption and tax evasion totalling more than Sh96 billion in foreign accounts in the past 10 years, a new study has revealed.
According to the report by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington-based research and advocacy organisation, Kenya is among developing countries where billions suspected to be earnings from crime find their way into foreign accounts.
â€œAstronomical sums of dirty money flow out of the developing world into offshore tax havens and developed country banks,â€ GFI director Raymond Baker said.
The highest amount totalling $312 million (Sh26.8 billion) was moved out of Kenya in 2003, followed by $258 million (about Sh22 billion) in 2007, $234 million (Sh20.1 billion) in 2005, $203 million (Sh17.4 billion) in 2004, $72 million (Sh6.1 billion) in 2001 and $43 million (Sh3.7 billion) in 2006.
It adds that illicit financial outflows cost developing countries $859 billion in 2010 while nearly $6 trillion was stolen from poor countries in the same period.
Most of the billions stashed away in foreign bank accounts by influential businessmen and powerful politicians are suspected to be proceeds from defence and security related contracts and payment of fake debts.
Kenya is suspected to have lost more than Sh100 billion through the Goldenberg foreign exchange scheme and Anglo Leasing security contract scandals.
The GFI study estimates the developing world lost a total of $5.86 trillion over the decade spanning 2001 through 2010.
â€œThis has very big consequences for developing economies,â€ Ms Sarah Freitas, a co-author of the report, said.
â€œPoor countries lost nearly a trillion dollars that could have been used to invest in healthcare, education, and infrastructure.â€