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Kenya tax haven approaching: secrecy to be enforced with prison terms

KenyaWe have for a while been sounding alarms about the emergence of (yet) another tax haven/secrecy jurisdiction in Kenya. A few months ago we quoted the newspaper African Arguments:

“Anti-corruption campaigner John Githongo has warned that in this setting, the NIFC “would be like a financial crime aircraft carrier, self-contained and able to cause considerable damage”.

We noted, too, the central role played by the Lord Mayor of the City of London Corporation and one of the City Corporation’s main lobbying bodies, TheCityUK. Now, via the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya, a new draft Nairobi International Financial Centre Bill, 2016, which we believe came out this month. Its preamble calls it:

“A BILL for an Act of Parliament to provide a framework to facilitate and support the development of an efficient and globally competitive financial services sector in Kenya . . “

Mauritius: India cracks down on a major tax evasion route

Mauritius flag

India cracks down on a major tax evasion route

A guest blog by Abdul Muheet Chowdhary

The issue

My award winning essay, written for a competition jointly held by the Tax Justice Network and Oxfam International, focused on how India is unable to meet its child rights obligations as it loses a huge amount of tax revenue because of some policy decisions taken by the government. These decisions enable tax abuse, and as is being increasingly understood, tax abuse is a human rights issue.

One of these decisions is the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with Mauritius, a favourite tax haven for Indians. Under this, Mauritius based companies selling shares of Indian companies are effectively exempt from capital gains tax. This encouraged tax evaders to route investments into India through Mauritius based shell companies, leading to lots of tax revenue foregone. Official data states that over the 15 year period from 2000-2015, the highest amount (34%) of total FDI into India was from Mauritius, valued at US$ 93.6 billion.

Links Oct 19

Analysis: Can we beat tax avoiding multinationals? – Finance Uncovered/ Byline

How to lose $4billion Global Witness
New report, coming ahead of a pivotal meeting of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). “Credibility test for global transparency standard as $4bn lost to anonymous oil and mining companies.” 

Mauritius eyes Africa as pressure mounts on offshore business Reuters

New Delaware Freeport Offers New York Collectors an Art Tax Haven Close to Home artnet
For more on freeports, see our earlier blog Freeports: now Luxembourg adds to the sleaze

Can Stopping ‘Tax Dodging’ by Multinational Enterprises Close the Gap in Development Finance? Center for Global Development

Finance Uncovered: how Africa’s biggest cell phone firm shifts billions offshore


From the Mail & Guardian

From Finance Uncovered, a TJN-founded project, a press release about a story that is (among other things) front page of South Africa’s influential Mail & Guardian newspaper.

Finance Uncovered reveals how Africa’s biggest cell phone firm shifts billions offshore

The Finance Uncovered global network of investigative reporters have today published a cross-border investigation into South African telecoms giant MTN exposing how billions of rand from its subsidiaries in Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda have been shifted to a shell company in the small island tax haven of Mauritius.

The two year investigation spanning five countries was published today in South Africa’s Mail and Guardian, ​the U​gandan Observer ​and G​hana Business News.​

A report in Nigeria will follow shortly.

Links Jun 22

The parallel financial universe of the Cayman Islands Cayman Reporter
“…the people of these islands are waking up to the reality that has been kept masked under many shrouds for decades.”

US official says British government undermined progress on tax avoidance The Guardian
See also: Could UK and US squabbling on international tax reform just be an agreed ruse to kill the whole thing? Tax Research UK, and A tracker for the new UK government’s tax commitments Uncounted Blog – Alex Cobham

Crackdown on multinational tax avoidance likely to be thwarted, says expert The Sydney Morning Herald
“The G20’s efforts to crack down on multinational tax avoidance are likely to be defeated by national self-interest, particularly from the United States, one of Australasia’s top tax advisers says.”

LuxLeaks, SwissLeaks win top Data Journalism Award ICIJ

Zambia Revenue Authority Commissioner Msiska notes challenges in implementing 2015 mine tax regime The Post

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