Kenya’s real estate market targets illicit financing

By JAMES ANYANZWA

Kenya’s banking and real estate sectors have become prime targets for illicit financing, as gaps in the implementation of the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Law (AML / CFT) have created fertile ground for money laundering.

According to the latest report from watchdog The Sentry dated October 2021, weaknesses in Kenya’s financial and real estate sectors have been exploited to fund the conflict in South Sudan, with arms and ammunition also passing through Kenya to the country.

The report titled Risks and assessment of illicit financing in Kenya notes that Kenya is a destination for illicit South Sudanese funds and that South Sudanese Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) responsible for the conflict have infiltrated Kenya’s banks, real estate, trade, defense and businesses.

“Some Kenyan business structures have benefited from the South Sudanese $ 922 million letters of credit scandal, in which oil-backed loans were used to secure financing to import food and goods from neighboring countries “, says the report.

It reveals that Kenyans, including members of the political elite, have established businesses with corrupt foreign PEPs, which facilitates the transfer of illicit funds.

The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that follows dirty money linked to African war criminals and war profiteers and seeks to exclude them from the international financial system.

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According to this latest report, Kenya faces many illicit financial risks, including domestic corruption, terrorist financing, environmental crimes, tax evasion and the misuse of digital finance such as banking. mobile and cryptocurrency.

“If Kenya has the political will, it has the capacity to respond to existing threats, but technological and cyber risks require additional training and technological resources,” the report said.

Penny D. Jackson