Chamber blows whistle on Covid-19 dirty money

Thursday, April 16th, 2020 00:00 |
A passenger sanitizes his hands before departure to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Hilary Mageka @hillarymageka

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) wants Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund Board to ensure proceeds of crime and money laundering activities do not find their way into the emergency response kitty. 

It warned that in the wake of an emergency such as coronavirus, the risk of handling money from the proceeds of crime, corruption, bribery or other financial crimes is usually high in governments.

In a memorandum to Senate ad-hoc committee on Covid-19, the membership-based trade support institution, in collaboration with other stakeholders, also want parliament to be on the lookout.

Parliament, the memo said should ensure National Treasury and other institutions cooperate with the Financial Reporting Centre (FRC) and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to prevent any proceeds of tax evasion and financial crimes from moving undetected.

Supply chain

 “These agencies can provide support, guidance and assistance for the private and public sector on how national anti-money laundering  laws and regulations should be applied at this time,” read some of the recommendations to the committee chaired by Senator Johnson Sakaja.

 “Not only do the public and private sector face a higher risk of financial fraud and exploitation scams, but a lot of people are also holding proceeds of crime and would likely take advantage of this opportunity to donate money, amongst other methods of legalising the illegalities, which can then be written off in their tax returns,” it further reads.

 As the government seeks support, including from individuals of good will, they added, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has already recognised that every available resource will be required to combat this pandemic.

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