BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,25TH AUG,2021-Equity Bank has denied having any banking relationship with Deputy President William Ruto’s associate Harun Aydin, who was deported from Kenya for allegedly engaging in money laundering activities.
The bank’s Managing Director Gerald Warui said on Wednesday that Aydin, a Turkish businessman, does not hold any account with Equity and that at no point was he ever advanced a credit facility by the bank.
Mr. Warui was speaking before the National Assembly’s departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning which invited Equity Bank to shed more light into the alleged issuance of a Ksh.15 billion credit facility to Harun Aydin.
“He (Harun Aydin) does not operate and does not have a banking relationship with us neither does he have a loan with Equity Bank,” said Mr. Warui.
The inquiry by the parliamentary committee comes following a proclamation by Deputy President William Ruto that through a single phone call he helped an investor secure a Ksh.15 billion loan from Equity Bank for the construction of a pharmaceutical company in Uganda.
“When I was in Uganda like a month ago, the President (Museveni) invited me to open a pharmaceutical company dealing with covid vaccines. I was invited because the investor behind that company came right here in my office two years ago and asked me to connect him with Equity bank since he wanted a loan to invest.
I picked the phone, called Equity and told them to assist this investor from East Africa. This investor was successful and obtained a Ksh.15 billion loan ( 150 million USD) and he went and set up that factory,” Ruto said in an interview with Inooro TV.
Equity Bank MD Gerald Warui told the Gladys Wanga-led committee that he is not aware of any such phone call from the deputy president.
“From where I sit, I am not aware of that phone call. But maybe given time I can try to find out because we have many senior people at the bank both at the Group and Kenyan level. We also have many board members so it might not have come to my attention whom he might have called,” stated Mr. Warui.
The bank’s MD further clarified that in Uganda, the maximum amount of credit a single client can secure is around Ksh.2.3 billion.
“We have not lent Ksh.15 billion to any of those two customers in Uganda. When it comes to Uganda, the amount that can be lent to a single customer is capped to a limit of Ksh.2.3 billion because of the capital requirement,” added Warui.
The bank, however, admitted it has a banking relationship with Dei Group of Companies, associated with Aydin, which was setting up the said medical factory that Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni described as world-class and which would produce enough medicine, including Covid-19 vaccines.
“The relationship between Equity bank and Dei Group in Uganda dates back to 2014. It’s an old relationship and the directors of Dei Group are Matthias Magoola and Kellen Kamurungi. Those are the shareholders according to the records of the bank,” Equity told the committee