, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 4 – Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal is among those named in a massive leak of information from a Panama-based law firm used by prominent people to open and operate firms and accounts in tax havens.
According to the documents uncovered in the leak, Rawal and her husband were directors of two companies based in the British Virgin Islands before she joined Kenya’s Supreme Court.
The leaked records provided by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reveal how the family used other offshore companies to buy and sell real estate in London and Surrey.
The 11.5 million documents which are 2.6 terabytes in data size originated from the law firm of Mossack Fonseca, which operates in 11 tax havens thereby enabling the prominent individuals to stash money in offshore accounts in tax havens like British Virgin Island, Seychelles and Switzerland.
The company specializes in helping companies and individuals set up offshore, tax exempt entities and is reportedly the world’s fourth largest provider of such services. The clients of Mossack Fonseca include over 140 politicians from over 50 countries some of whom are heads of states, their family members, and inner cycle associates.
ICIJ however put up a disclaimer stating that it recognises that there are legitimate uses for offshore companies, foundations and trusts and does not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities mentioned have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.
The report claims Rawal who is currently the Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Kenya was a director or shareholder of four companies and was actively involved in two of them after she was appointed High Court judge.
When contacted to respond to the revelations, ICIJ says Justice Rawal said “she has not been involved with the family businesses except for generally knowing they were involved in real estate.”
The DCJ is quoted saying that ‘she was listed as director on two of them without her knowledge by her husband when he was told two directors were required. “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 UK.”
The first company never did any transactions and is dormant. The second one acquired a property, she said and denied having “any involvement direct or indirect and have no interest or control in the other companies.”
ICIJ claims Rawal’s husband was the sole director and shareholder of Montague Real Estate, which bought an apartment in London for Sh114 million in 2004. The flat was later sold in 2006.
He was also the sole director and shareholder of Arklyn International Ltd.
The company bought two London apartments, including one for Sh169 million in 2005, which was sold for Sh237 million in 2011.
The same company also bought another flat in London for Sh160 million in 2005 and sold it for Sh218 million in 2012.
He resigned as a director and shareholder in 2011 and all his shares were transferred to Buchanan Ltd.
Innovate Global Ltd, another company controlled by Rawal’s husband, bought a house in Surrey, England, for Sh278 million and an apartment in London for Sh98 million.
The London apartment was sold for Sh118 million in 2013. The shares at Innovate Global were split between Rawal, two unnamed bearers and Buchanan Ltd.
Rawal has been fighting an attempt by the Judicial Services Commission to force her to retire from Kenya’s Supreme Court after she turned 70 in January 2016.
She filed a suit in September 2015, arguing she was appointed under a previous Constitution that let judges work until they turn 74. In December, a five-judge panel ruled against her, but she has appealed.