US Embassy not ready to accept new Kenyan currency

Mombasa resident Audrine Wa Kanyi verifies the new 1,000 and 50 Kenya Shillings notes on June 13, 2019. [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

The United States Embassy is not ready to accept payments using the new Kenyan bank notes.

The embassy said in a statement that it is currently putting in place measures to accept the latest currency.

“Until these procedures are in place, consular applicants will only be able to pay for services using previous Kenyan shillings. You may also continue to pay by credit card,” part of the statement reads.

The embassy promised to work with the Kenyan Government to put the necessary processes in place “as soon as possible”.

This comes as it emerged that police and the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission are holding millions of shillings in old currencies at various stations and courts as exhibits.

One officer said the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) was yet to issue a directive on the way forward.

“They did not consider what we are holding. I know of one office which has Sh6.5 million in their stores as exhibits. We don’t know what will happen after the deadline lapses unless they direct otherwise,” he said.

Combat counterfeits

The Government introduced the new currency recently and plans to withdraw the old Sh1,000 note from circulation by October 1 as part of its efforts to combat illicit financial flows and counterfeits. 

Last week, Uganda and Tanzania stopped the use of Kenyan currency in an effort to shield their banks from being used to launder money.

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge said the new currencies have designs that meet “the CBK requirements, serve the public aspirations and capture the spirit of the Constitution”.

“More recently, we have seen the emergence of some counterfeits. These are grave concerns that would jeopardise proper transactions and the conduct of commerce in our currency,” said Dr Njoroge said.

The banks’ regulator has instructed that people without bank accounts and who seek to exchange more than Sh1 million must first contact CBK.

“People who would like to exchange between Sh1 million and Sh5 million will need to do so in their own banks. Those without bank accounts and want to exchange these amounts will need to contact the CBK.”

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United States EmbassyCentral Bank of KenyaCBK Governor Patrick Njoroge