Money remittance firm Dahabshiil Kenya has scaled up efforts to counter risks posed by money laundering as it eyes a bigger share of the multi-billion shilling diaspora remittance inflows.
The staff and agents of the firm were taken through requisite training on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and other financial risks to better prevent and flag suspicious financial transactions.
Dahabshiil, which handles a sizeable amount of diaspora remittances, has thousands of personnel and agents in its operations in Kenya and other countries.
The firm provides cash remittances services to individuals, corporates and international humanitarian organisations including United Nations agencies.
The intensive training is a requirement of the Central Bank of Kenya, which regulates Money Remittance Providers (MRPs) and other financial institutions.
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It focused on spotting and flagging suspicious transactions, enhancing due diligence in identification and assessment of clients and other measures to better secure Dahabshiil from risks of money laundering.
The training also included enhancing Dahabshiil's general security processes in its outlets to boost safety of its personnel and clients' cash as well as scaling up its customer care systems to better handle general customer concerns that may arise as required by CBK.
Dahabshiil Deputy CEO Jamal Mohamud said the investment in capacity building of its staff reflects the firm's priority in managing the risks posed by money laundering and other financial and security risks so as to effectively play its role in enhancing integrity of the country's financial ecosystem.
"Our staff and agents are required to uphold the comprehensive systems and guidelines already in place against money laundering and other risks in line with national and international best practice," he said.
He added: "We are in full compliance with the requirements of the regulator, the Central Bank of Kenya, to minimise risks that the financial sector faces."
Risk management and compliance specialist Joshua Afune said that staff of financial institutions play the most critical role in combating money laundering and other financial crimes.
"The staff are the implementors of policies and guidelines that have been prepared by the financial institution. Without their commitment and vigilance, the guidelines would remain only on paper," he said.
He added: "Staff who fail to implement anti-money laundering procedures face a personal responsibility in case issues any issues arise. The financial institution will not be held accountable since it played its part in putting policies in place and investing in staff training."
A recent report by the US government on money laundering and narcotics indicated that Kenya has made strides against money laundering but remains vulnerable to the crime.
In March this year, a new law against money laundering came into force in Kenya. The Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Act, 2017, introduced tougher penalties against persons found guilty of the economic crime.
All financial institutions in the country are required to develop and implement anti-money laundering policies and guidelines.