It's difficult to overstate the importance of the leaking of the Kroll report on corruption in Kenya and the Guardian's work in publicising it.
The download site for the report is at present hard to access, and has clearly been overloaded with demand. Some of it is available here.
Of course it is depressing that there is yet further evidence of an African ruler looting their country. And it's depressing that no action appears to have been taken in Kenya to recover those assets.
But to see it like that is a tiny part of this story. What this report makes clear is the extent to which this is encouraged and supported by western companies. Look at the names in the report of those who have managed this cash:
- Allan & Overy, Solicitors
- Standard Chartered
- Barclays Bank
- Credit Suisse
- ABN Ambro
Now, I stress, these are allegations, and have not been proven in all cases. But it's a depressing list of suspects.
As depressing is the confirmation of many things claimed here and by the Tax Justice Network.
- UK companies are easy to use for looted funds through front men and nominees;
- This cash has ended up in the UK housing market, in part;
- Cayman and Jersey are favourite places for routing money.
The list could go on. But if evidence is needed that tax havens, those who support them and the professionals who service this activity (like the UK lawyers who have managed all the property purchases funded by this activity) are in combination the suppliers of corruption services. Together they do exacerbate poverty. And it's time the UK and other countries took the action to close down the activities they allow that facilitate this trade, and once and for all stop those so called professional people who service this trade from undertaking their trade.
It is possible. All we need is the will, and an acceptance that corruption is not an issue for Africa alone, it's happening right here.