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Kenya Takes Over Leadership of the Eastern and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering Group

13 October, 2023

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Kenya takes over the leadership of the Easter and South Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG). It will lead the group members in combating money laundering and terrorist financing. 

After the last meeting of the ESAAMLG in Kasane, Botswana, Kenya became a regional leader in the fight against financial crimes and assisted group members in compliance with strict international AML regulations to correspond with worldwide financial institutes. During the group’s last meeting, Njuguna Ndung’u, Kenya’s Treasury Cabinet Secretary, and Saitoti Ole Maika, the director general of the Financial Reporting Centre, were supposed leaders of the group as the chair of senior officials and chair of ESAAMLG council minister. 

Kenya’s team led the group in September 2023 for one year, and Prof. Ndung’u became the head of the decision-making body. The ESAAMLG was created as the region’s financial action task force to prevent fraud, money laundering, and terrorist financing. The group comprises Council Ministers, a Steering Committee, a Secretariat, and a Task Force of Senior Officials. The director-general of the Financial Reporting Centre, Mr. Saitoti, stated, “The Council is ultimately responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Group, including the approval of programs. It is chaired by a President who serves for a period of one year.”

The group members stated they are complying with the rigid AML measures to combat money laundering and financial crimes as well as safeguarding the integrity of the region’s financial ecosystem. The group’s task force urges all the region countries to follow the latest robust technology to verify the customer and business identity. Utilizing advanced technology will assist regional financial institutes in complying with the international standards CFT and AML measures.

The group’s task force operates every technical issue and submits guidelines to the Council for authorization. It is led by a chairman and is made up of senior government officials from the financial, legal, and criminal justice societies in the ESAAMLG region who are in charge of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). Kenya became a leader of the ESAAMLG after completing their one-year monitoring procedure from the international regulatory authority Financial Action Task Force (FATF) this month.

Mr. Saitoti appreciated the efforts of Prof. Ndung’u in creating the current AML/CFT regime in Kenya and stated, “He was perfect to lead the region.” He added that Kenya is working on the 107 suggested changes included in last year’s Mutual Evaluation Report and believes a favourable assessment will be made in February 2024.

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