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Kenya’s National Treasury Department forced financial and specified non-financial institutes to onboard Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance officers to strengthen the security against terrorist financing and prevent illicit financial flow in the country.
To protect the country from money laundering and terrorist financing, Kenya’s Treasury Department wants all money lenders and clearing houses to hire regulatory compliance officers to report and engage with the department. As the government urged tightening the country’s financial security, all fintech and traditional banking sectors have to accept the Treasury Department’s request to protect them from hefty fines. They also include designated non-financial institutes such as casinos, real estate agencies, non-government organisations, accountants, and companies who are dealing in worthy metal and stones.
Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Regulations of 2023 Act10, published by the National Treasury Department, states, “a reporting institution shall appoint a Money Laundering Reporting Officer. The Money Laundering Reporting Officer shall be at the management level and shall have necessary and relevant competence, authority, and independence. All staff in a reporting institution shall monitor and report to the Money Laundering Reporting Officer any suspicious activity on money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing.”
The Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Terrorism Financing Laws (Amendment) Bill of 2023 came one month ago when Kenyan President William Ruto signed it into law. Under the new law, the Financial Reporting Centre will no longer be considered a state entity and should have operational freedom. This new law will empower financial and capital markets authorities to enforce the organisations’ compliance according to their licensees and prevent illicit financial flows in the country.
The Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) will report directly to the Financial Reporting Center (FRC). The regulations forbid any Chief Executive Officer or Internal Auditor from becoming eligible for appointment as an MLRO, with the exception of circumstances where the business is a private company. The laws state, “the Money Laundering Reporting Officer shall report forthwith to the Financial Reporting Centre any transaction or activity that he has reason to believe is suspicious in a manner the Centre may specify. Where the Centre receives a report made by a Money Laundering Reporting Officer, it shall acknowledge receipt of the report.”
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