Turkish national Harun Aydin not our client, says Equity Bank
Equity Bank on Wednesday denied lauds by Deputy President William Ruto that it loaned an unnamed investor Sh15 billion to set up a vaccine manufacturing factory in Uganda on his recommendation.
Dr. William Ruto, in a successful radio interview, said that the country is in support of the Covid 19 vaccination campaign after a successful call to fund the vaccination plant.
The director of legal affairs at Equity Group, Christine Browne, however, told the Parliament on Wednesday that the bank never made such a transaction. She said such a deal would be impractical since it would be in breach of the bank’s single obligatory lending limit — the maximum amount an individual is allowed to borrow. This limit is expressed as a percentage of a lending institution’s capital and surplus.
Mrs. Browne also denied any links between Equity Bank and the controversial Turkish businessman, Harun Aydin, who was deported from the country last month, for suspected involvement in money laundering despite coming in on a work permit as an investor in solar energy. Mr. Ayadin is an associate of Dr. Ruto.
“Mr. Aydin has never had any relationship with the bank, directly or indirectly, not been through Dei Pharmaceuticals. He is a stranger to the bank,” she told the National Assembly Committee on Finance and National Planning yesterday.
Immigration officials at Nairobi’s Wilson Airport allowed others in the delegation, including Mr. Aydin, to travel but blocked Mr. Ruto, saying he did not have the required clearance to fly out of the country.
The Turk was arrested upon arrival at Wilson Airport on August 7 and deported to Istanbul two days later, hours before his scheduled appearance before a court to answer charges of money laundering.
MPs raised concerns that Dr. Ruto had publicly spoken of helping a foreign investor to get funds from a local bank to invest outside Kenya, yet job creation through manufacturing is one of four pillars of the Big Four Agenda, championed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“As a committee, we have been concerned that the Deputy President of The Republic of Kenya lied to Kenyans about this facility (loan),” Gladys Wanga, who chairs the National Assembly Committee on Finance and National Planning, said.