Ruto’s sleazy financial dealings with Danish shipping firm exposed
By John Kamau, Editor, thingira.org (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
A confidential report authored by a maritime watchdog- the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) – exposes how Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto received over $200 million in kick-backs from a Danish based shipping firm, A.P. Møller or simply Maersk, since 2018.
Maersk is a Danish shipping company which is active in ocean and inland freight transportation and associated services, such as supply chain management and port operation.
It was the largest container shipping line and vessel operator in the world from 1996 until 2021.
The company is based in Copenhagen, Denmark, with subsidiaries and offices across 130 countries and around 83,000 employees worldwide in 2020.
It is a publicly-traded family business, as the company is controlled by the namesake Møller family through holding companies.
In September 2016, Maersk Group announced that it was splitting into two separate divisions: Transport & Logistics, and Energy.
The company's 2018 annual revenue was US$39 billion (2019).
In the 2020 Forbes Global 2000, Møller-Maersk was ranked as the 622nd -largest public company in the world.
But now ACCC claims Maersk paid the bribes in order to clinch a deal to operate a new terminal at the port of Mombasa.
The deal was so lucrative that Maersk has been operating the terminal for free in the last three years. The ACCC report says in the last three years Maersk wired over $200 million to shell companies registered in the Cayman Islands.
The shell companies are known to belong to proxies of the Deputy President.
It is also understood that Maersk also paid bribes to the Deputy President to prevent a takeover of the new terminal by the Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL) which is State owned.
The ACCC report also claims Maersk paid hush money to NGOs and members of parliament to silence them.
Kenya's largest coastal non-governmental organization, Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) for instance has been receiving 1.3 million euros every year since 2018.
The method of funding however was not direct. Maersk used a Danish NGO based in Kenya as proxy. The NGO-Forum for International Cooperation disbursed over 4.5 million euros to a Gulf African Bank account registered under MUHURI.
ACCC also reports that in 2017, Maersk sponsored the election of a Kenyan member of parliament. Mohammed Ali.
The sitting member of parliament received 1.2 million Euros in campaign funding from Maersk.
It is not why Maersk funded his campaign but sources averred that it was to stop the MP, a close ally of the Deputy President, from raising the issue in parliament.
When reached for comment, Maersk global CEO, Soren Skou said Naersk will open an internal investigation and anyone found culpable will be dealt with.
“Maersk has been around for over 130 years. There's no way we can allow such behavior to happen. If true, we shall take action,” the CEO said.
When reached for comments, Kenya's Deputy President's office declined to comment stating the Deputy President was away on holiday.