An Equity Bank Managing Director appeared before the National Assembly Committee on Finance and Planning and denied that the bank extended a Kshs. 15Billion loan to Turkish national, Harun Aydin who was said to be an ally of Deputy President William Ruto.
The Equity CEO James Mwangi had been summoned by the powerful Parliamentary Finance Committee to shed light on the loan alleged to have been given to the Aydin. In a surprise development, the bank’s Managing Director Gerald Warui on Wednesday told a Parliamentary Committee, that the bank does not have any banking relationship with Harun Aydin.
Appearing before the National Assembly Finance Committee chaired by Homa Bay MP Gladys Wanga, Mr. Warui told the MPS that he was also not aware of the phone call purportedly made by DP Ruto to the bank to facilitate the loan. The DP had previously been reported saying that he had made a call to Equity bank after an investor approached him seeking help finding funding to set up a Covid-19 vaccine plant in Uganda.
The investor, Turkish ‘businessman’s was arrested by the Anti Terror Police Unit (ATPU) early this month before being deported back to Turkey after being linked to terror and money laundering activities. The association of the DP with Turkish Aydin has raised eyebrows, including as to why why the DP would support a businessman set up a vaccine manufacturing plant in the neighbouring country, Uganda and not in Kenya.
The MPs are inquiring into whether the bank adhered to section 43 of the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act (POCAMLA) while advancing the loan to Aydin.
Also arrested together with Aydin was a Ugandan businessman, Paul Batambuze, who was also deported to Uganda.
Kenya, through the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta, has relentlessly fought graft and has been keen on introducing tougher actions against individuals guilty of economic crimes. Anti-graft agencies through Multi Agency framework, have worked together to carry out investigations, fortifying anti-money laundering compliance efforts through the use of law enforcement measures, and seizing assets from proceeds of crime.