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Ignore ‘Bloomberg’ article claiming former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta had a stake in Chinese contractor that won public contracts

IN SHORT: Faked news articles are increasingly circulating on Kenyan social media platforms. One example is an article claiming that former president Uhuru Kenyatta acquired 40% of the China Road and Bridge Corporation, despite the fact that the company did business with the state.

A screenshot of what appears to be a Bloomberg News article has been circulating on social media platforms in Kenya, with the headline Inside China Road and Bridge: How Kenyatta acquired 40% of world’s largest construction company.

Uhuru Kenyatta was Kenya's fourth president, serving from 2013 to 2022.

The China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) focuses on global civil engineering and construction projects, such as highways, railways, bridges, ports and tunnels. The CRBC has been responsible for several infrastructure projects in Kenya, including the standard gauge railway.

The article in the screenshot is dated 27 November 2023 and is supposedly authored by Jason Schreier, a tech reporter at Bloomberg News. The article alleges that Kenyatta and his allies twisted the arm of the Chinese contractor into ceding ownership.

The article claims that the CRBC has won more than US$48 billion worth of public contracts in Kenya over the years.

Headquartered in New York City in the US, Bloomberg is a respected financial, software, data and media company. An article from them would therefore be considered authoritative.

In August 2023, a report by the country’s auditor general found that the CRBC had colluded with state officials to shortchange taxpayers on major construction projects. A group of activists went to court alleging grand theft in infrastructure projects across the country.

The image of the supposed article has also been shared here, here and here. But is it authentic?

Fake screenshot of a Bloomberg article about Uhuru Kenyatta

Article fake, not published by Bloomberg or written by Schreier

Africa Check searched the title ““Inside China Road and Bridge: How Kenyatta acquired 40% of world’s largest construction company” on the Bloomberg News website and came up empty.

We then searched for “Jason Schreier” and found that he has been described as covering “video games, business, culture, labour, delays and other aspects related to the gaming world”. It is highly unlikely he would write about these Kenyan developments.

We emailed him to ask if the article was legitimate and he replied that it “is fake”. It was not published by Bloomberg and is not to be trusted.

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