EACC orders closure of unapproved foreign bank accounts within 49 days

Kenya: Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has issued a 49-day ultimatum to public officers operating bank accounts outside the country without approval to close them or face the law.

The notice, which is also applicable to State officers, comes barely a week after a whistle-blower leaked billionaires' secret accounts in which Sh51 billion is banked.

The dossier reveals that about 463 HSBC private banking arm's accounts from Kenya were opened between 1975 and 2006, adding that 742 clients are associated with locals.

EACC's Chief Executive Officer Halakhe Waqo Wednesday said in an advertisement in the local dailies, that the last day of closure of unapproved accounts shall be March 31.

Waqo said those who continue to operate the accounts without approval shall be committing an offence that would attract a five year jail term or a fine of Sh5 million or both.

The Leadership and Integrity Act provide that any State officer, who operates or controls the operation of a bank account outside the country, shall have to submit to EACC statements annually.

The officer is to also required to authorise the commission to verify the statements and the any other relevant information from the foreign bank in which the account is held.

For one to continue operating such an account, he or she will have to seek approval from the commission.

In the approval form, the commission wants the applicant to indicate the name of the bank, monthly salary, and reasons for opening such an account, duration of operating it, if there are any other signatories and particulars of the beneficiaries.