Powerful ex cabinet minister named in $1 million off shore account revelation

The Paradise Papers were released on Sunday by a consortium of journalists

According to documents found in the International Consortium of Journalists' (ICIJ) Paradise Papers database, former Kenyan politician Sally Kosgei kept an off shore account that was used for several lavish purchases.

On Sunday, more than 13 million documents that detail the complex financial arrangements of some of the world's richest individuals were leaked. The documents, dubbed the "Paradise Papers," were stolen from offshore law firm Appleby in a cyber attack last year, and shared with the ICIJ.

Sally Kosgei was a member of the Kenya Parliament from 2008 to 2013 and minister of agriculture from 2010 until March 2013.

IN THE DATA

Kosgei owned Zonrisa Ltd., a Mauritius company previously registered in the Isle of Man under the name Aisha Ltd. Zonrisa owned an apartment in central London near Harrods department store in 2001 which cost $1 million, according to emails sent to Appleby. Kosgei owned her offshore company in April 2001, when she began work as the cabinet secretary in the Office of the President. Kosgei’s ownership continued throughout her tenure as one of Kenya’s most powerful politicians.

Documents sent to Appleby confirmed that Aisha Ltd. would use money from Kosgei’s company in Kenya, Zena Roses Ltd, to buy the London home. The 70 hectare Kenyan flower farm company exports roses to Europe.

RESPONSE

Kosgei told ICIJ that she bought the flat with personal funds before becoming the head of Kenya’s public service at a time when she expected to spend time in the United Kingdom due to her children’s studies. “There is no relation whatsoever” between the purchase and date of her work in the Office of the President, Kosgei said, and told ICIJ she acted on lawyer’s advice.

She said it is not unlawful for Kenyans to buy property through offshore companies and that she had “satisfied all obligations (legal, professional and ethical) as a public official in Kenya” and declared everything that is and was require.

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