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Kenyan MPs pass money laundering law

NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 11 – The law on Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering now awaits presidential assent after Parliament passed it with amendments on Thursday.

The Bill seeks to prevent earnings of crimes from entering into the Kenyan market. It also criminalizes all forms of money laundering, a process in which the origin of funds generated by illegal means such as drug trafficking, gun smuggling terrorism and corruption are concealed.

The chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs Abdikadir Mohammed proposed changes to the Bill that include requiring police officers and other law enforcement agencies from carring out any searches without warrants or to falsify information.

Mr Abdikadir argued this measure would prevent police officers from harassing innocent people through the Financial Reporting Centre which is mandated with identification of proceeds of crimes and money laundering.
The Police Commissioner replaced the Law Society of Kenya on the Board which is established under the Bill.
Meanwhile, Parliament adjourned on Thursday for the Christmas recess but is expected to be recalled in early February to begin debate on the harmonised draft constitution.
Speaking earlier, Mr Abdikadir assured Kenyans that the parliamentary break would not delay the realisation of the new constitution within 12-month time frame.

“Assuming everything went like clockwork, the earliest we will require parliament is February 25 and Parliament will be there if that need comes… even earlier.”

He added: “I have heard that people feel Parliament is not interested in this process… they are even thinking of going on recess.  Last time, we recalled Parliament in January although traditionally Parliament resumes in March so the PSC will work whether or not Parliament is in recess or not.  The Parliamentary Committees don’t go on recess.”

The referendum on the new constitution will be held four months after the Abdikadir-led Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution tables the draft law for approval by Members of Parliament.

The timetable shows that the country may go into a referendum by June 2010.

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Under the new roadmap, the negotiators envisaged that the review process would be completed within 12 months after the constitutional referendum law is initiated in Parliament.

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