Corruption

MPs summon Equity Bank boss over Ruto ally Sh15 billion loan

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MPs have summoned Equity Bank Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi to shed light on allegations that the financial institution gave Sh15 billion loan to Turkish Harun Aydin, who has since been deported to Istanbul.

The National Assembly Committee on Finance and Planning wants Mr Mwangi to appear before it on Wednesday to answer seven questions relating to allegations made by Deputy President William Ruto.

Mr Ruto said he had made a phone call to Equity Bank to facilitate the massive loan for Mr Aydin to set up a vaccine manufacturing plant in Uganda. The saga started after Mr Ruto, accompanied by Mr Aydin and other close associates, was stopped from boarding a flight to Entebbe from Nairobi’s Wilson airport.

The Deputy President reportedly was asked by officials to provide proof from the Office of the President that he had permission to travel outside the country. Days later, Mr Aydin was deported upon return to Kenya from Uganda. Interior CS Fred Matiang’i later told a parliamentary committee that the Turkish national was a terrorism financing and money laundering suspect. 

In a letter dated August 16 from the committee seen by the Sunday Nation, Mr Mwangi is expected to answer a series of questions including whether the bank in handling Mr Aydin’s transaction complied with all the legal and regulatory requirements as established under the law

“The purpose of this letter is to invite you to a meeting with the committee scheduled for August 25 in the mini-chamber,” reads the letter dispatched to Mr Mwangi

The committee chaired by Homa Bay Woman representative Gladys Wanga also wants to know whether the bank carried out a thorough know-your-customer (KYC) check as required by the Central Bank of Kenya prudential guidelines before processing the credit facility to the said businessman.

The Equity Bank CEO is also expected to tell the lawmakers whether the bank adhered to section 43 of the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-money Laundering Act, which mandate banks to undertake reasonable measures to satisfy itself on the true identity of Mr Aydin at the time he was seeking to enter into a business relationship with it.

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Advanced to Harun Aydini

The committee also wants to know whether Mr Aydin holds or operates any accounts with Equity Bank and the particulars on the security used to guarantee the Sh15 billion credit.

Further, Mr Mwangi is expected to explain whether the bank verified the intended use of the loan advanced to Mr Aydini.

Ms Wanga confirmed to the Sunday Nation that the committee has indeed scheduled a meeting with the Equity Bank CEO.

“Yes, we have a meeting with the CEO next week to get some clarifications that will help us get to the bottom of the matter,” Ms Wanga said.

Last week, the Interior Cabinet Secretary told the committee on national security that the government deported Mr Aydin on suspicion that he was engaged in money laundering, and at the request of authorities in Istanbul.

Dr Matiang’i, who was invited by the committee to explain circumstances that led to the deportation of the Turkish, said that Mr Aydin’s activities in the region had also been flagged by intelligence officers of a neighbouring country after they noticed that he had been moving around or communicating with members of a regional money laundering network.

He, however, did not name the neighbouring country.

Mr Aydin, who was part of Dr Ruto’s botched trip to Uganda, was arrested on August 7 at the Wilson Airport on arrival from Entebbe by officers from the Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU).

He was then held incommunicado for two nights before being escorted to a scheduled Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul. BY DAILY NATION


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