The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) risks legal action for delay in rolling out the new generation currency as stipulated in law.
Activist Okiya Omtatah said Article 231(4) of the Constitution outlawed currency bearing portraits and images of individuals yet notes and coins bearing such features remain in circulation.
“This letter is to demand that within seven days from today, the CBK publicly declares that it will with immediate effect begin withdrawing all unconstitutional currency notes and coins from circulation and replace them with those that don’t bear the image of any individual,” he said in a letter to CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge.
“Kindly note that failure on your part to respect, uphold and defend the Constitution as required will necessitate our recourse at the Rights division of the High Court of Kenya for orders compelling your compliance” the letter further stated. Dr Njoroge, on March 3 this year, told the Senate committee for Finance, Commerce and Economic Affairs that a new-look currency would be rolled out by September after the CBK failed to do so within the August 2015 constitutional deadline.
The tender for the new-look currency was cancelled on March 24, 2015, after bidders quoted a zero price and the CBK, in consultation with the Attorney-General, ruled the move illegal. The government estimates that it will cost Sh18 billion to withdraw the currency currently in circulation, over a three-year period.
Four companies — British printer De La Rue, French firm Oberthur Fiduciaire, German banknote printer Giesecke & Devrient, and American firm Crane Currency — had been prequalified from eight money printing firms.
The new currencies are expected to be in notes of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 shillings.