Kenya on US blacklist over terrorism laws
Posted by Administrator on March 6, 2012
The US has put Kenya on a blacklist of countries that do not support the fight against terrorism.
And it has given Kenya a three-month ultimatum to enact laws that criminalise financing of terrorist activities.
However, Washington did not indicate what measures it will take if Kenya fails to fully implement the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act and pass other legislation that criminalises terrorism and its financing within three months.
Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo on Tuesday said that the Financial Action Task Force, a US team, had disclosed that Kenya had fallen short of some measures to ensure that the legislation was up to date.
The absence of the laws risks the lives of Kenya Defence Forces soldiers in Somali as it leaves a window for terrorists to raise money at a time when KDF is trying to weaken the militants by curtailing their sources of income. (READ: Kenyan soldiers willing to die for their colleagues)
This is also considered as the driving force behind several travel advisories usually issued against the country. Tourists will also be hesitant to visit the country until the relevant laws are passed.
“This undermines our ability to attract investors who maybe afraid of using our banks,” Mr Kilonzo said.
The minister said that Kenya had been advised to come up with proper legislation on terrorism to cover five critical areas. The first are laws to adequately criminalise terrorism financing.
The other is to ensure that a fully operational Financial Intelligence Unit is established while the third one is to establish a legal framework for identifying and freezing terrorists’ assets. They are also expected to raise awareness within the law enforcers and also implement effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions to anybody who does not comply with this legislation.
The minister, however, said that save for a few amendments that are needed, the country had enacted all the necessary laws like the Prevention of Organised Crime Act and the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act, among others.
He also said the CBK had issued the necessary directives to banks regarding the legislation.
The US Department of Treasury Official in Charge of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, Mr Luke Bronin, was in the country last week and met Internal Security minister George Saitoti, Central Bank governor Njuguna Ndung’u, acting Finance minister Njeru Githae and representatives of Kenya’s financial sector .
Mr Bronin said it was time Kenya addressed the strategic deficiencies in anti-money laundering and combated the financing of terrorism, which had been highlighted by the international Financial Action Task Force.
“Strengthening anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing laws is now more important and timely than ever,” he advised.
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