Why Panama? The Reason Why Bigwigs Love to Open Shell Companies in Panama and How It All Goes Down

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A Country in the Americas by the name Panama has been mentioned severally in the Pandora papers - an administrative papers leak of 14 law firms and other service providers as the main country mostly loved by world leaders and other billionaires as the best place to stash colossal amounts of money. Why do they mostly choose Panama as the best tax haven?

The country has been one of the best secrecy jurisdictions in the Americas due to its lax financial laws that makes it attractive to persons planning to move money anonymously.

Unlike in Kenya, companies in Panama are not required by law to disclose all financial and ownership information publicly at the end of every trading year. This enables shy law and accounting firms with branches in another countries to easily register shell companies for individuals looking to hide cash without being noticed that the cash actually belongs to them.

After one opens a 'shell' company, he appoints pseudo directors who act as the owners of the company. Bank accounts belonging to the shell companies are used to anonymouly receive money. Though the accounts are opened by the pseudo directors, the owner is given operating letters secretly to enable him run the account.

Due to absence of strict financial disclosure laws, one easily runs offshore bank accounts in Panama without being noticed. He or she operates in the name of these shell companies. They are called 'shell' companies because they're used as cover up identities of the real owners.

Nairobi's pseudo pastor Alfred Ndakwe is one among those who managed to escape with looted money after opening two companies in Panama with the help of a Nairobi law firm. He looted cash from Clip Investment Sacco where he was the chairman and stashed it in the accounts of these two companies. He later acquired prime plots in Nairobi's Runda and transferred them to the shell companies. If anyone happened to search for the owners of the plots, he would run into pseudo directors in Panama.

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