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Kenya wins all clear in anti-money laundering review

by Katy Migiro | @katymigiro | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 8 July 2014 15:16 GMT

A customer conducts a mobile money transfer in Kenya's capital Nairobi July 15, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

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Welcome news for government plans to build international financial hub

NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Kenya has been taken off the list of countries at high risk for money laundering and terrorist financing, the government said on Tuesday.

 In 2010, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the official global watchdog, placed Kenya on its "grey list" of high risk countries failing to combat money laundering, drug trafficking, corruption and terrorism.

Following a visit to Kenya in May and a review at the FATF meeting in Paris in June, Kenya has been given the all clear. This is welcome news for the government which plans to strike a deal with the City of London to build Nairobi into a major international financial hub.

"On the basis of the on-site visit report, the FATF concluded that Kenya has established the legal and regulatory framework to address the strategic deficiencies that the FATF had identified," Henry Rotich, cabinet secretary for the treasury, said in a newspaper statement.

"This is an achievement we all should embrace… I therefore wish to take this opportunity to thank all those who have been involved in this process for their relentless efforts to achieve this milestone."

As a result, Kenya no longer has to give public updates on progress made in implementing its anti-money laundering regime.  

FATF was set up in 1989 to set international standards on anti-money laundering and combating terrorist financing.

During the review, FATF found that Kenya had ensured an effective financial intelligence unit, introduced laws to identify and freeze terrorist assets, established procedures for confiscating funds related to money laundering and imposed sanctions against people who did not comply with anti-money laundering requirements.

Data calculated for Thomson Reuters Foundation by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington-based financial watchdog, showed the amount of illicit money entering Kenya from faulty trade invoicing, crime, corruption and shady business activities increased more than five-fold in the last decade to equal roughly 8 percent of Kenya’s economy.

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