Paradise papers leak: Kutesa keeps tax-free cash in Seychelles

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Sam Kahamba Kutesa

Uganda’s Foreign Affairs minister, Sam Kahamba Kutesa, is among powerful world politicians with offshore companies that avoid taxes named in “Paradise Papers” by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists [ICIJ].

This ICIJ database contains information on almost 500,000 offshore entities that are part of the Panama Papers, the Offshore Leaks and the Bahamas Leaks and some from politicians featured in the Paradise Papers investigation.

The data covers nearly 40 years up to early 2016 and links to people and companies in more than 200 countries and territories.

Kutesa who was president of the United Nations General Assembly during its 2014-2015 session appears in a leak titled: “Explore The Politicians in the Paradise Papers.”

IN THE DATA

Kutesa created the Obuyonza Discretionary Trust in the Seychelles in 2012. The trust held shares in the Seychelles company Katonga Investments Ltd. He created the trust, watched over its administration and was one of its beneficiaries.

Kutesa’s daughter, Ishta, also is listed as a beneficial owner as well as a future recipient of money from the trust. An internal Appleby document from 2015 reported that the company’s intended activities were “consultancy, investments, trading and airport services in Uganda.”

The money for Katonga was to come from Enhas Uganda Ltd., another Kutesa entity, Appleby’s notes state. Kutesa has owned Enhas, a ground-handling service at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport, since the 1990s.

In 1998, a Ugandan parliamentary committee named Kutesa and another co-owner in a report criticising the privatisation that helped create Enhas and led to its lucrative airport contract.

Ishta Kutesa Atukunda

The report concluded that the privatisation had been “manipulated and taken advantage of by a few politically powerful people who sacrifice the people’s interests.”

As part of a periodic review in 2015, Appleby labelled Kutesa’s companies a “high risk,” given his political role and media reports of alleged corruption and bribery involving Kutesa.

Kutesa told Appleby that the purpose of the trust was to separate his government income “from his personal assets and belongings.” In 2015, however, Appleby noted that the companies connected to the trust were dormant and that “it seems that nothing such is being done.”

RESPONSE

Kutesa confirmed to ICIJ’s media partner in Uganda, The Daily Monitor, that he established the companies, but “I have never done anything with it at all. I told Appleby to close it many years ago.”

He said he had registered a company in Uganda and is paying taxes. “I thought you could avoid, not evade, taxes but I found it was not practical, and unnecessary,” Kutesa told the Daily Monitor. “I don’t have anything to hide.”

Other African politicians

ICIJ explores the offshore connections of world leaders, politicians and their relatives and associates.

Former Minister of Agriculture, Kenya Sally 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.

President of Senate, Nigeria Bukola Saraki was director and a shareholder of Tenia Ltd., a company established in the Cayman Islands in April 2001. Appleby’s records describe Tenia Ltd. as a “holding company.”

Former Liberia president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was listed as a director of the Bermuda company Songhai Financial Holdings Ltd. a subsidiary of Databank’s finance, fund management and investment company Databank Brokerage Ltd.

Former President of Sudan Ahmad Ali al-Mirghani was the owner of the British Virgin Islands company Orange Star Corporation, created in 1995.

Son of Former Egyptian President Alaa Mubarak owned the British Virgin Islands firm Pan World Investments Inc., managed by Credit Suisse.

Personal Secretary to the King of Morocco Mounir Majidi. In March 2006, Mounir Majidi received power of attorney privileges for SMCD Limited, which was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands in 2005.

Son of Ghana’s Former President John Addo Kufuor. In early 2001, shortly after the start of his father’s first presidential term, Kufuor appointed Mossack Fonseca to manage The Excel 2000 Trust.

Associate of Cote D’ivoire’s Former President Jean-Claude N’Da Ametchi Cadley House Ltd. was registered in the Seychelles in 2006. Although the company was at first held through so-called bearer shares, which do not list an offshore company’s owner.

Nephew of South African President Clive Khulubuse Zuma was authorized to represent Caprikat Limited, one of two offshore companies that controversially acquired oil fields in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Widow of Guinea’s Former Dictator Mamadie Touré was granted the power of attorney to Matinda Partners and Co. Ltd, a British Virgin Islands company, in November 2006.

Member, DRC Parliament Jaynet Désirée Kabila Kyungu. Keratsu Holding Limited was incorporated in Niue on June 19, 2001, a few months after Kabila’s brother became president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Jaynet Désirée Kabila Kyungu.

Algeria’s Minister of Industry and Mines Abdeslam Bouchouareb has been the sole owner of the Panamanian company Royal Arrival Corp., which was created in April 2015, since July 2015.

Angola’s Minister of Petroleum José Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos. On 6 March 2002, when Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos was minister of petroleum for the first time,

Senior Judge in Botswana Ian Kirby, president of Botswana’s Court of Appeal, was one of dozens of shareholders of seven British Virgin Islands companies.

Former Governor of Nigeria’s Delta State James Ibori. Mossack Fonseca was the registered agent of four offshore companies connected to James Ibori, including Julex Foundation, of which Ibori and family members were beneficiaries.

Former Rwanda Intelligence Chief Emmanuel Ndahiro became a director of British Virgin Islands company Debden Investments Limited in September 1998, the same year in which Ndahiro regularly appeared in international news as a spokesman.

Former Zambia Ambassador to the United States Attan Shansonga. In 1998, Shansonga became a director of Starflight Ventures Limited, Stacey Investment Holdings Ltd and Debden Investments Limited. The activities of these companies were not revealed.

Son of Former United Nations Secretary General Kojo Annan was sole director of the Samoan company Sapphire Holding Ltd, originally incorporated in Niue in 2003, which he had used to buy an apartment in central London.

Arrested in Senegal alongside Ex-Minister Mamadou Pouye first appeared in Mossack Fonseca’s files in October 2008, instructing the law firm to open a bank account for the Panama Company Seabury Inc.

Queen of England too features

Queen, United Kingdom Queen Elizabeth II. In 2005, the Duchy of Lancaster, Queen Elizabeth II’s private estate and portfolio, invested $7.5 million in Dover Street VI Cayman Fund LP, according to files from the offshore law.

About Paradise Papers

The Paradise Papers Power Players interactive produced by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists explores the offshore companies linked to 40 politicians and their immediate relatives.

Their stories are based on a cache of 13.4 million leaked documents from offshore law firms Appleby and AsiaCiti Trust, and from the corporate registries of 19 secret jurisdictions around the world.