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Equity on alleged Sh15b loan to Harun Aydin: We don’t know him

NATIONAL
By Brian Okoth | August 25th 2021

Equity Bank's Managing Director Gerald Warui appearing before the National Assembly's Finance Committee on Wednesday, August 25, 2021. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Equity Bank has said it did not give deported Turkish national Harun Aydin a loan of Sh15 billion.

The lender’s Managing Director Gerald Warui says Aydin’s name does not exist in their database as a client.

Warui made the remarks on Wednesday, August 25, when he appeared before the National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning, chaired by Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga.

“He (Aydin) does not operate [an Equity Bank account], and does not have a banking relationship [with Equity],” said Warui, adding that the deported Turkish national did not receive a credit facility from the lender.

Deputy President William Ruto on August 4 claimed he had helped Aydin secure a Sh15 billion loan from Equity.

The bank’s MD now dismisses Ruto’s allegations, saying Equity did not receive any call from the DP to facilitate the transaction.

Warui also denied being aware of money-laundering links to a Ugandan pharmaceutical company linked to Aydin.

On August 13, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said Harun Aydin was deported over money-laundering links and illegal movement into and out of Kenya.

Appearing before the National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security, Matiang’i said an analysis of Aydin’s frequent movements into and out of the country, indicated he had close links with foreigners involved in money-laundering.

The minister said the Kenyan Government issued Aydin with a work permit on June 25, 2021 after he expressed interest in investing in the energy sector.

According Matiang’i, Aydin’s “questionable” dealings were discovered when the State monitored his frequent trips into and outside Kenya.

“When a work permit is given [to a foreigner], when they make movements, we [in Government] know and we can tell what they are doing,” said the CS.

“In tracing Aydin’s movements, we discovered he was moving around, a lot. At one time, he was in Goma, another time Sudan, Zanzibar, Entebbe, among others,” said the minister, who suggested Aydin’s movements might have been triggered by “suspicious” involvements.

The CS said the Kenyan Government liaised with security agencies in the countries that Aydin visited, and an alleged link to money-laundering was established.

“One of our sister security agencies flagged this gentleman for two reasons. One, he was travelling regularly around the region; and two, he was keeping the company of people involved in money-laundering,” said the Interior ministry boss, adding: “One of his (Aydin’s) associates in a neighbouring country had [earlier] been arrested in another country while bribing a Government minister.”

Matiang’i stated that Aydin’s movements also smacked of someone engaging in illegal activities.

“He has left Kenya twice without a stamp indicating that he had previously arrived in the country. That means: on two occasions he was sneaked into the country.”

The Turk was arrested on Saturday, August 7, upon arrival at the Wilson Airport in Nairobi. He was detained at the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit offices on Ngong Road, and deported at 4am on Monday, August 9.

Deputy President William Ruto on August 7 said on Twitter that Aydin, whom he was to travel with to Uganda on August 2, was being unfairly targeted by the Kenyan Government over links to him.

“Turkish investor Aydin Harun is a victim of top-down arrogance bred by patronage and cartels that criminalise enterprise. Importers’ goods declared contraband, Africa Spirits closed, Keroche harassed, [and] now [an] investor with valid papers [is being] labelled a terrorist. Tragedy of political pettiness,” he said.

After Aydin’s deportation on Monday, August 9, Ruto, again, tweeted: “I have just talked and apologised to Aydin Harun on behalf of the Government of Kenya. Aydin was politically arrested, tortured and falsely profiled as a ‘terrorist’, but later asked to fly out not to ashame those involved. Political pettiness is expensive, dangerous and will destroy our economy. Shame.”

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