CBK Governor calls on MPs to strength anti-money laundering laws

Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge has asked parliamentarians for support in transforming the country’s banking system and in extension the economy.

Njoroge said CBK will look up to the Parliament to evaluate and pass the Considerations of Finance Bill 2022 which seeks to strengthen Microfinance Banks to effectively serve underbanked and unbanked in pre-urban and rural areas.

“We have to move from the old fashion microfinance. We need to go to microfinance 3.0 as opposed to where we are which is 1.0,” he said during the parliamentary induction workshop at Safari Park Hotel on Monday.

In a Mircofinacing Act draft of 2019, the CBK sought powers to enter any premises and examine the books, accounts, records, equipment, computer systems, software, or fixtures of any person whom the Central Bank, on reasonable grounds, believes to be carrying out microfinance bank business contrary to the provisions of this Act.

The CBK also intends to table a bill that will designate lawyers as reporting persons under the Proceeds of Crime and Ant-Money and Laundering Act (POCAMLA) amended in 2021. The act was first introduced in 2009 to prevent, detect and punish illegal funds entering the financial system and the funding of terrorist individuals, organizations, and/or activities.

Governor Njoroge said, “This is something that was discussed in parliament, but I am sure it will be brought back to you.”

Kenya is ranked among major money laundering jurisdictions across the globe, with diaspora remittances to the country totaling to KSh 178 billion between January and August 2020 — some of which are suspected to have been proceeds of the narcotics trade, according to a report tabled in the US Congress in 2021.

“A Judge of the High Court may on an application being made to him in relation to an investigation of this Act, order an Advocate to disclose information available to him in respect of any transaction or dealing relating to the matter under investigation,” reads the Act in part.

Justice James Makau in January barred the state from implementing the Act pending the hearing of the case.

“Pending inter parties hearing, a conservatory order is hereby issued stopping any further implementation of section 2(c) and section 14 b of the proceeds of crime and anti-money laundering amendment act 2021,” Makau ordered.

Njoroge urged the parliament to further strengthen the laws fighting money laundering and the regulatory environment to fully protect the country. He asked the 13th parliament to support them in transforming Kenya into the premier financial services hub.

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