Kenya's Main Opposition Keeps Up Pressure on Eurobond Spendingby
Odinga says whereabouts of bond proceeds should be publicized
Government offered all information available, spokesman says
Kenya’s main opposition party is putting even more pressure on the government to disclose details on how it spent money raised from the country’s debut sovereign bond.
The corruption watchdog has said it found no evidence of criminal action by government officials in spending the proceeds of the 2014 sale of about $2.8 billion of Eurobonds, after opposition leader Raila Odinga said some of the funds were unaccounted for. Questions about how the money was used come as the government this month began meeting with foreign investors over possibly selling more Eurobonds by mid year.
Odinga, a former prime minister who heads the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy, said the Central Bank of Kenya had withheld documents related to the maiden Eurobond that they consider “privileged under the banking laws," but there should be nothing to hide.
“How does the CBK say it has a policy to keep public information confidential when the constitution is clear that the information must be published and publicized?" Odinga said on Thursday in an e-mailed statement.
The opposition is seeking clarification after recent mixed reports over whether the funding was invested in infrastructure projects or to pay off debts accrued before the Eurobond sale by the East African nation’s previous power-sharing government, he said.
Odinga has rejected invitations by both the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Treasury to provide information and voice his concerns, Eric Ng’eno, a spokesman for the presidential press service, said on Thursday in a response to Odinga’s statement. The Treasury has published all relevant documents on the ministry’s website, he said.
“It is clear that Odinga is not interested in facts, information, data or documents because he has publicly refused to receive them,” Ng’eno said in the statement.
Yields on the dollar-bond due June 2024 fell to 7.58 percent on Thursday from as high as 9.8 percent in mid-January.
The government held a non-deal roadshow in London on April 5 and is expected to have similar meetings in the U.S. in the coming weeks as it looks to raise $500 million to $750 million in another Eurobond issue, Teneo Intelligence said this week in an e-mailed note. The sale may take place before the end of this fiscal year through June, it said.
“We shall not rest until we get to the bottom of the Eurobond saga, which we maintain is a case of grand robbery against the suffering people of Kenya," Odinga said.