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Mutua, MP challenge DP Ruto to come clean on Sh15bn Aydin loan

POLITICS
By Mireri Junior | August 26th 2021

Equity refuted allegations that Deputy President William Ruto (pictured) made a call to the bank to unlock loan coffers. [File, Standard]

A day after Equity Bank denied advancing a Sh15 billion loan to deported Turkish national Harun Aydin, calls are mounting for the DP to address the new revelations.

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has challenged Deputy President William Ruto to provide proof of his allegations on the back of Equity’s remarks.

“Kenyans want to know who is telling lies between Equity Bank and the deputy president,” Mutua said during an interview on Citizen Television on Thursday morning, August 26.

“[If it is Ruto who is lying, then] we don’t deserve to have a dishonest person for deputy president,” added the governor.

Nyando Member of Parliament Jared Okello urged the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to conduct a probe into the DP’s alleged dealings with Equity.

“The statement by Equity has badly exposed the deputy president. It would be appropriate for him to now record a statement with the DCI on what he knows,” Okello told The Standard.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargey, however, faulted the National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning for “coercing” Equity Bank, a private company, into publicly revealing banking details of a “client”.

“Equity operates in Kenya and other countries. Therefore, we should not compel them to disclose [details of] their customers,” Cherargey told Citizen Television on Thursday morning.

Playing politics

On Wednesday, Equity Managing Director (MD) Gerald Warui denied granting Harun Aydin a loan of Sh15 billion as had been alleged by Ruto on August 4 during an interview on Inooro FM.

Warui also refuted Ruto’s allegations that he (Ruto) made a call to Equity Bank, which unlocked the loan coffers.

Cherargey now says the DP might have made a call to one of the bank’s directors, not necessarily Warui.

“Unless all directors deny receiving the DP’s call, then we can’t conclusively say no such communication took place,” he said.

According to the senator, the Harun Aydin matter has been “politicised” to scupper Ruto’s chances of winning the presidency in 2022.

Governor Mutua said it was strange that one person could receive a “mind-boggling” Sh15 billion loan from one bank.

Equity, however, said it can’t advance a loan exceeding Sh2.5 billion to one borrower.

On Wednesday, Equity’s MD Gerald Warui vehemently denied any existence of a customer-lender relationship between the bank and Aydin, who was deported over suspected criminal links.

Warui said Aydin’s name does not exist in their database as a client.

The MD made the remarks 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.

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

Aydin, according to reports, was to use the money to expand the Kampala-based pharmaceutical company, which has an account with Equity Bank.

On August 13, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said 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 ties with foreigners involved in money-laundering.

Questionable dealings

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, leading to his deportation to Istanbul on August 9.

“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.”

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 [Harun] Aydin is a victim of top-down arrogance bred by patronage and cartels that criminalise enterprise,” said the DP.

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