Some corrupt Tanzanians, including prominent business tycoons and some top government officials, have secretly stashed away a whopping Sh315.5 billion ($196.87 million) in Swiss banks, The Guardian has learnt.
The amount is a quarter of the amount Kenya’s tycoons and politicians have secretly stashed away in Swiss banks.
According to a report released by the Swiss central bank, Swiss National Bank, early this week Tanzania is among eleven African countries whose nationals have secretly stashed away millions of dollars in the country’s banks.
This is the first time the Swiss central bank has released financial details on various culprits who have stolen billions of dollars from Africa - an indication that gone are the days when African thieves enjoyed strong protection of their looted billions by Swiss banks and authorities.
The report further shows that Kenya is the leading offender in East Africa in terms of the amount of money that has been stashed away in Swiss banks. According to the report, a staggering Ksh72 (Tsh1.296 trillion) is in the country’s banks.
The report shows further that other countries whose nationals have stashed stolen wealth in Switzerland, in billions of Swiss francs, include Uganda (154m), Egypt (798m), South Africa (795m) and Seychelles (2.515bn), Zimbabwe (96m), Senegal (150m), Rwanda (29m), Sierra Leone (29m), Somalia (1m) and Sudan (179m).
One Swiss franc is equivalent to Sh1,900, according to current exchange rates in the domestic financial market.
“The total overseas funds in Switzerland’s banking system stood at 1.53 trillion Swiss francs,” the report adds.
For the past one decade global pressure has been mounting on Switzerland to ask its banks to share information about their clients with foreign governments.
Reacting to the report by the Swiss central bank yesterday, director general of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) Dr Edward Hosea (pictured) said, “ We are going to write to the Swiss authorities on Monday (next week) to demand a copy of the report.”
“We want to know the names of those who have secretly stashed billions of shillings in Swiss banks…we promise to recover the stolen billions once we have the list,” the PCCB chief told The Guardian over the phone.
The anti-graft czar further said, “People should stop laundering money to Swiss banks because they are no longer a safe haven as they used to be in the past.
Things have changed so much that in today’s world, no matter how long it might take, in the end all the culprits would be known and arrested.”
Early this week Dr Hosea, who is also chairman of the African Union’s Advisory Board on Anti-corruption (AU-ABC), expressed dismay over the continuing ‘rampant corruption’ in the continent, blaming some leaders for abusing their offices and condoning the malpractice.
Dr Hoseah made the remarks in Arusha when addressing the board’s members who are preparing its annual report to be presented to the AU summit scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, next month.
He said Africa has been losing billions of dollars annually through corruption, adding: “On a yearly basis Africa loses more than USD148 billion due to the practice, and the perpetrators of corruption are taking the money from the continent to banks based in the developed world.”
Citing an African Development Bank’s (AfDB) recent report, Dr Hosea said: “It is estimated that 50 percent of tax revenues and USD30 billion in aid for Africa ended up in corruption. Today the scenario has not changed, as some African leaders have become thieves in government offices while petty corruption continues to ravage the continent.”
Between 2001 and 2008 Tanzania lost an estimated $1 billion (Sh1.6 trillion) due to corrupt deals masterminded jointly between corrupt tycoons and some top government officials. Among the scandals that cost the nation dearly were the Bank of Tanzania’s Twin Towers project, looting of the External Payments Arrears (EPA) account, Meremeta gold scandal, Deep Green Finance Ltd, British Aerospace Engineering (BAE) Systems and the controversial radar deal.