Parliament of Kenya is considering a significant change that would grant law enforcement agencies the authority to tap the telephone calls and emails of individuals suspected of engaging in money laundering and terrorism financing.
The proposed amendments, part of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Terrorism Financing Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023, aim to bolster the country’s efforts against illicit financial activities.
Currently, state agencies lack the legal ability to intercept private communications of those linked to such activities.
If the proposed changes are approved, it would provide the government with unprecedented access to suspects’ private communication, raising concerns about privacy rights and potential abuse of power.
The proposed amendments also seek to align several laws, including the Insurance Act, Banking Act, Central Bank of Kenya Act, Capital Markets Act, and National Payments Systems Act, with the evolving anti-money laundering strategies.
This move follows the enactment of the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Act last year.
As Kenya endeavors to strengthen its fight against money laundering and terrorism financing, the government’s initiatives have drawn attention from international bodies like the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group, which has called for increased investigative capacity and integration of anti-terror financing efforts.
The government’s response to such recommendations will likely shape its future standing in global efforts to combat financial crimes.
“A poor understanding of money laundering risks, lack of collecting statistics on different money laundering types and the prioritisation of the prosecution of predicate offences, especially corruption, over money laundering have limited Kenya’s ability to effectively investigate and prosecute ML cases in line with its risk profile.”
“Terrorist financing is not integrated as a component of the wide-ranging efforts to tackle the severe and fatal terrorist risk suffered by Kenya,” said the report.