The Central Bank of Kenya has flagged off accounts of eight hundred people who are suspected to clean their illicit money before the lapse of the deadline to exchange the old KES 1,000 notes.
Reports indicate that for the last three months, 800 bank accounts were placed on hold after the account holders exchanged unusually high amounts of money, raising suspicion.
This comes at a time when the regulator reveals that more than KES 100 billion of the old currency is believed to be in private hands.
By the end of last week, approximately 100 million pieces of the KES 1,000 notes had been returned a sign that more than half of the existing notes could be in the hands of Kenyans.
It has raised concern over corrupt individuals who are likely to take advantage of the rush to exchange wrongly obtained cash.
The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) chief executive Habil Olaka had earlier issued an alert asking banks to be extra vigilant and to report any suspicious financial activity.
“We are continuously advising banks to scrutinize every person who comes to exchange notes or makes unusually high deposits,” he said.
In addition, CBK has warned banks to be wary of individuals who may circumvent rules against money laundering and terrorism due to the rush expected in the coming days.
“Commercial banks are therefore reminded of the AML/CFT obligations under the Central Bank of Kenya Prudential Guidelines and the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2009,” CBK said in a circular to lenders.
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