Kenya fines 5 banks $3.75mn under anti-money laundering laws

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge displays some of the new look shilling Kenyan currency notes on June 3, 2019 during a press conference at his office in Nairobi. - The unveiling of the new Kenyan bank notes has been greeted by some with disapproval, with Kenyans taking exception to the use of an image of a statue of the founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta printed on the notes. According to the 2010 Constitution of Kenya, notes and coins shall not bear the portrait of any individual. (Photo by SIMON MAINA / AFP) (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Kenya’s chief prosecutor said on Thursday five commercial banks must pay a fine of 385 million shillings ($3.75 million) for violating anti-money laundering laws, adding his office reserved the right to prosecute them in the future.

The five are KCB Group, Equity, Co-op Bank Kenya, StanChart Kenya and Diamond Trust.

The charges related to the theft of nearly $100 million from the National Youth Service (NYS). Dozens of senior government officials and business people were charged in May 2018 with various crimes.

Thursday’s announcement was second time the banks had faced fines. In 2018, the central bank fined the five banks nearly $4 million for failing to report suspicious transactions.

Chief Prosecutor Noordin Haji told reporters that further investigations found the lenders had failed to put in place adequate systems to combat money laundering and failed to know their customers as the law required.

He was deferring prosecuting the banks, he said, to see if they met a deadline to improve their practices.

The chief executives of the five lenders, who flanked Haji as he addressed the news conference, declined to comment.