ABOUT Charles Abugre - I am a Ghanaian development economist, who has been active in international development for over 20 years;
The IMF and Kenya`s Public Finance Deadlock - 2 / 1 - 3
The International Monetary Fund should seek to achieve its mandate working with the political system of the 2010 Constitution rather than with a non-existent one they would like to see. This article continues from Part 1 published here.
The illicit extracting, hiding and channeling of capital from poor countries to havens abroad destroys societies and must be curtailed. How do we go about achieving this?
Today we conclude the series, not because we have exhausted the issues but because we must stop somewhere in the hope that your interest on the subject of dirty money flows is kindled sufficiently for you to do further reading and ask questions. We shall point to sources for further reading at the end. We promised that today's installment will address the cost that illicit capital outflows impose on Africa/Kenya's efforts to reduce poverty and build accountable democracies. We also said we will point at ways to curtail the phenomenon, and so we will. But before we do so, let's recount the drivers and mechanisms of dirty money flows to remind us and to set the context for how to address the problem.
In the last installment we tried to explain the web of players that are involved in facilitating bribery, concealing the identities of the beneficiaries of bribery and corruption and the shifting of their ill-gotten wealth into havens of secrecy abroad, protected from the public view and from tax authorities.
We suggested that ultimately the buck stops with the politicians and public servants who use their delegated power not to provide services to their people but to enrich themselves. Leadership without integrity opens the door for the use of power to manipulate the law for personal gain and for self-protection. My good old friend Papi Silvio once told the legendary Italian journalists Indro Motanelli and Enzo Biagi that "I am forced to enter politics, otherwise they will put me in prison" (www.vanityfair.com). If that's what motivates people to seek political representation what can stop them from abusing all rules of decency for their own interest and protection?
The Nairobi Law Monthly (NLM) article tells a story of two Kenyan public officials, Chris Okemo (former finance Minister and Energy Minister) and Samuel Gichuru (former Managing Director of a state electricity company) , who are about to be hauled to a little Island, Jersey, to stand trial for allegedly receiving bribes between 1999-2002, from an international company (Alcatel-CIT) and laundering this money into bank accounts they hold in this Island.
The world of dirty money is one in which Chris Okemo and Samuel Gichuru are midgets rather than “lords” - Part I
I am attracted to write about dirty money because of two outstanding feature stories I recently read. The first is the cover story in the Nairobi Law Monthly (NLM) magazine Vol.2 Issue 7, July 2007 entitled "On the trail of Kenya's lords of dirty cash" written by Michael Rigby. This is the most revealing account yet, of the web of illicit money flowing across the world, written from a country perspective. Kudos, Mr Rigby.
How do multinationals and unethical companies conceal and move capital abroad? It is mostly through manipulating import and export prices. We concluded the previous section of this story with the claim that the dominant way in which multinationals move capital abroad is to conceal it through the seemingly benign process of international trade with the help of secrecy jurisdictions and accountants and lawyers.
I am a Ghanaian development economist, who has been active in international development for over 20 years; as a researcher and lecturer, as an NGO activist and development professional in several parts of the world. Working with others, I co-founded several development organisations around the world, including the Third World Network, ISODEC and the Centre for Public Interest Law in Ghana. Heading the United Nations Millennium Campaign in Africa, till December 2014. I currently head Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), Ghana.