Kenya on American blacklist over terrorism legislation
Posted Thursday, March 8 2012 at 00:00
Country was given a three-month ultimatum to pass legislation or face
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 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.
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 among the law enforcers and also
implement effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions to anybody who
does not comply with this legislation.
The minister, however, said 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 Central Bank of Kenya 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 the
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.
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Received on Thu Mar 08 2012 - 08:34:16 EST