Lawyers have opposed a new law requiring them to start reporting details of client transactions to the Financial Reporting Centre.
The proposed amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering Act which became law in 2010 puts obligations on accountants, financial institutions, advocates, notaries, and other independent legal professionals.
Some of the situations identified in the Act that requires reporting are buying and selling of real estate; managing of client money, securities or other assets; management of bank, savings or securities accounts; organisation of contributions for the creation, operation or management of companies.
But the lawyers argue that it infringes on their clients’ confidentiality and privacy.
The Law Society of Kenya Chair Mr Allen Gichuhi says the body “is opposed to the amendment” adding that LSK is getting views from members to write a comprehensive memorandum to Parliament.
The Act which took effect in June 2010 was enacted to provide mechanisms for detecting and seizing proceeds of money laundering by establishing a centre where financial institutions and individuals report suspicious transactions.
But it is the latest proposal that has now worried lawyers, who feel that the new amendment will expose them to the risk of being accused of being accomplice or in some worst cases stand as witness against their clients.