Casinos, saccos to register with anti-money laundering agency

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Director General Financial Reporting Centre (FRC) Saitoti Maika. FILE PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Real estate agencies, sacco, casinos, forex bureaus and life insurance brokers will be required to register with the anti-money laundering watchdog before September 15, as the government clamps down on economic crimes such as financial terrorism and racketeering.

In separate statements to the chief executives of real estate agencies and saccos, the Financial Reporting Centre (FRC) said it was onboarding the property firms and Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority-regulated saccos to supervise their reporting to ensure no proceeds are going to financing terrorism or money laundering schemes.

Casinos and Internet betting firms will be required to comply with FRC in addition to the Kenya Revenue Authority’s daily tax collection from gamblers.

“The purpose of this circular is to remind real estate agencies of their obligation to register with FRC. The registration is done online and should be submitted on the platform by or before September 15, 2023,” the statement read in part.

The taxman had earlier said the integration aimed at stamping out rogue industry operatives in the betting business.

The FRC was created by the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2009 to assist in the identification of the proceeds of crime and combating money laundering.

The agency said failing to comply would result in revocation of operating licences for any reporting institution.

The Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Act (2012) mandates reporting and regulatory institutions to report suspicious or unusual transactions.

The two State agencies work hand in hand to monitor suspicious money dealings.

The FRC is expected to receive a cross-border currency declaration report from the Kenya Revenue Authority for currency coming in and out of the country that is more than $10,000.

Kenya had been spotlighted for some illicit inflows of hard cash by the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), which monitors how the region is implementing global measures against dirty cash.

The agency in its report asked the Kenyan government to strengthen its strategy in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing or risk being grey-listed, a decision that would hurt the standing of Nairobi as the financial centre of the region.

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