TANZANIANS' SH 205BN ($114 MILLION) IN SWISS BANKS ~ :: Habari Duniani



Dar es Salaam. 
Ninety-nine Tanzanians wired $114 million (Sh205 billion) to HSBC Bank in Switzerland within a span of just one year, data leaked by a whistle blower shows.
According to the data which has been independently verified by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a US-based watchdog, these Tanzanians together operated 286 bank accounts.
The Swiss Leaks project is based on a trove of almost 60,000 leaked files that provide details on over 100,000 HSBC clients and their bank accounts.
The Citizen understands that there are legitimate uses for Swiss bank accounts and trusts, and therefore cannot directly suggest that any persons, companies or other entities included in the Swiss Leaks dossier have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly. However, the Tanzanian laws want any individual or local company that wants to operate a foreign bank account to seek an approval from the Bank of Tanzania (BoT).
The leaked data shows that the maximum amount of money associated with a client connected to Tanzania is $20.8 million (Sh37.4 billion).
The stolen data covered a period between 1988 and 2007, whereby the $114 million figure was wired from Tanzania in 2006/7.
It further shows that 99 clients are associated with Tanzania whereby 20 per cent of these have a Tanzanian passport or nationality—while the rest are linked or have direct connection with Tanzania.
The leaks, which were published on Sunday, ranks Tanzania on position 100 out of a total of 203 countries that were covered in a study that sought to establish the countries that have highest amounts of money in one of the world’s largest banks, located in Switzerland.
The leaked HSBC files offer a rare glimpse inside one of the world’s most private banking systems. The report takes note of over $100 billion, property of 106,000 clients from 203 countries.
“The Swiss Leaks project is based on a trove of almost 60,000 leaked files that provide details on over 100,000 HSBC clients and their bank accounts,” noted part of the report.
Reached for comment yesterday, the BoT director of economic policy, Dr Joseph Massawe, said the money should not be regarded as capital flight from Tanzania. He said the 80 per cent of the cash deposited in HSBC Bank in Switzerland might be cash of persons or companies doing business with Tanzania.
“That 20 per cent which has been declared money from natives, then we need to clearly have the names so we can trace the money and categorise it accordingly,” he said.
Section 10 of Tanzania’s Foreign Exchange Act of 1992 prohibits the transfer of currency from the country without the approval of the BoT governor.
Reached for comments Kigoma North legislator Zitto Kabwe said the exposure is a fundamental step in tackling tax avoidance and global corruption.
He believes it will help the government to release a report on investigations following the private motion he moved in the National Assembly in November 2012 on Swiss billions.
“People need to see names….with what these investigative journalists have done, names are now known and the government must make public its investigation report as ordered by Parliament now,” Mr Kabwe said.
In mid-2013, it was reported that retired army generals and MPs were among 200 prominent Tanzanians who have been questioned by a special team investigating individuals suspected of stashing away $196 million (about Sh314 billion) in Swiss banks.
The special team consisted of the director general of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), Dr Edward Hoseah, the director of intelligence, Mr Rashid Othman, the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) governor, Prof Benno Ndulu and Mr Mustapha Ismail, who in charge of BoT’s legal affairs as well as officials from the prosecutor’s and criminal investigations offices.
The committee was reportedly chaired by former Attorney General Frederick Werema. Despite promises by Mr Werema that the report would be made public, that has not happened to date.
In the East African Community, Kenya has $559.8 million and is ranked 58 among the countries with the largest dollar amounts in the leaked Swiss files. Uganda comes third ranked 105 with a total of $89.3 million in the same bank.
Then Burundi comes fourth in the region, ranked 131 globally with a total of $30.2 million and Rwanda becomes the last in the region and ranked 171 globally with a total of $2.1 million.
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