Friday, January 1, 2010

New law against money laundering signed

By PETER LEFTIE

Money launderers have nowhere to hide after president Kibaki signed into law a Bill aimed at curbing the vice. The Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act and Arbitration (amendment) Act provides mechanisms for detecting and seizing proceeds of money laundering.

The head of state also signed into law the National Youth Council Act which provides for the establishment of a Youth Council to empower young people. The Council will among other things promote and co-ordinate youth empowering activities and mobilise resources to support and fund youth programmes.

The Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act will introduce measures to identify, trace, freeze and seize proceeds of crime. The International Monetary Fund says that the aggregate size of money laundering in the world could be somewhere between $725 billion (Sh56.5 trillion) and $1.8 trillion (Sh140.4 trillion).

A report attributed to the US State Department said Sh7 billion earnings from drug trafficking is laundered in Kenya’s financial system. The Bill provides for the offence of money laundering and introduces measures to deal with the offence.

Money laundering is a process in which the origin of funds generated by illegal means such as drug trafficking, gun smuggling, terrorism and corruption is concealed. Bank deposits

It is effected by passing the proceedings surreptitiously through legitimate business channels by means of bank deposits, investments, or transfers from one place (or person) to another.

The Bill provides that any person who knows or ought to have reasonably known or suspected that any property is part of the proceeds of crime but conceals or disguises the nature or source of the same commits an offence.

It also provides for the establishment, powers and functions of the Financial Reporting Centre. Those found guilty of the offence of money laundering will serve a jail term not exceeding seven years, or a fine not exceeding Sh2.5 million, or both.

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