In Summary
  • Leaked documents show that Lady Justice Rawal was actively involved in running some of the firms even after she was appointed to the High Court

  • Justice Rawal declines to say whether she revealed her interests in the companies to JSC after she was made judge.

  • Her husband, Mr Hasmukhrai Rawal, was a director or shareholder of seven other companies.

Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal has been linked to a string of shell companies registered in a notorious Caribbean tax haven popular with tax dodgers, dictators and drug dealers.

She was a director or shareholder of four companies and was actively involved in two of them after she was appointed High Court judge.

Her husband, Mr Hasmukhrai Rawal, was a director or shareholder of seven other companies. Three were used to buy and sell property worth millions of shillings in the United Kingdom.

While it is not impossible for honest people to conduct business in secretive offshore jurisdictions, the British Virgin Islands, along with other tax havens, help individuals to conceal their wealth and either evade tax or launder the proceeds of illegal activities.

Justice Rawal argues that registering and operating businesses in tax havens is a “perfectly legal and legitimate corporate practice in the UK”, where her family is in the real estate business.

Documents showing her business interests are part of papers provided by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) that detail how prominent people from all over the world used a Panama-based firm, Mossack Fonseca, to open and operate firms and accounts in tax havens.

South African based media outfit, African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting, also supported the investigation by giving legal and editorial support.

According to the records, Mr Rawal was the sole director and shareholder of Montague Real Estate, which bought an apartment in London for Sh114 million in 2004. The flat was later sold in 2006.

Mr Rawal was also the sole director and shareholder of Arklyn International Ltd.

The company bought two London apartments, including one for Sh169 million in 2005, which was sold for Sh237 million in 2011.

The same company also bought another flat in London for Sh160 million in 2005 and sold it for Sh218 million in 2012.

Mr Rawal resigned as a director and shareholder in 2011 and all his shares were transferred to Buchanan Ltd.

Innovate Global Ltd, another company controlled by Mr Rawal, bought a house in Surrey, England, for Sh278 million and an apartment in London for Sh98 million.

The London apartment was sold for Sh118 million in 2013. The shares at Innovate Global were split between Rawal, two unnamed bearers and Buchanan Ltd.

Other companies under the control of Mr Rawal but for which no financial activity could be detected include Quintessa Quella Holdings, where Mr Rawal was a shareholder alongside a Mr Vinayak Kantilal Radia, and Windsor Land Investments Ltd, where Mr Rawal was the sole shareholder and director. Others include Windsor Real Estate Partners SA and Actara Investments Ltd.

Justice Rawal’s personal involvement was in four companies.

She and her husband were listed as directors at Forrell Real Estate Inc from 2001 to 2007 and Rocklane Properties Ltd from 2001 to 2003, which were notably active after her appointment to the Judiciary in 2000.

She was also a director and shareholder at Ubique Services Ltd in 1994 and shareholder at Highworth Management Services in 1995.

All four firms were registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), a notorious tax haven.

According to registration documents, the companies were used for a slew of real estate functions, including buying, selling and leasing of property.

Rocklane was opened in 2001, a year after Mrs Rawal was sworn in as a High Court judge.

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