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CBK orders banks to file reports on new currency seekers

Central Bank of Kenya
The Central Bank of Kenya building in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has instructed commercial banks to file weekly reports on persons exchanging old notes in part of strict measures seeking to curb circulation of illicit money in the economy.

In a circular to commercial banks dated June 10, the CBK said the move is intended to safeguard lenders from being used as a channel to launder illicit funds.

“Commercial banks shall submit to the CBK periodic weekly reports in the returns attached to the banking circular. These returns should reach the CBK by 9am of first working days of the following week,” reads the circular in part.

“The CBK shall take appropriate enforcement action against any commercial bank which fails, neglects or omits to comply with anti-money laundering laws including submission of returns on time.”

The CBK wants financial institutions to obtain identifications documents of every person involved in the transaction and establish the source and the purpose of the funds.

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The regulations come barely two days after Bank of Tanzania and Uganda stopped the use of the Kenyan currency in an effort to curb its banks from being used to launder stolen money back into Kenya.

The Bank of Uganda said the move was necessitated after the CBK informed it that it had issued a new series of banknotes effective May 31.

The CBK also suspended currency conversion and repatriation of Kenyan currency. The CBK regulations further state that anyone holding amounts between Sh1m and Sh5m of the withdrawn currency note will need to go to their own banks to complete the transaction.

Those who do not have bank accounts will need to contact the CBK to endorse the exchange.

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