NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – A gazette notice that listed 85 companies with suspected links to terrorism caused a stir with some of those mentioned denying any involvement in terror related activities.
Kenya Forex Remittance Association Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wachira told a press conference in Nairobi that 13 of the money transfer companies listed in the Kenya gazette were duly licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and the association.
“If you look at that list, it is sad that licensed entities are put together with suspected terrorists,” he complained.
The list had names of forex bureaus, bus companies as well as individuals.
According to Wachira, the 13 Forex Bureaus that are recognised by his organisation should not have been classified with others on the list; “the list is made up of individuals and Hawalas and other entities. I have no idea how our case is coming in.”
He however singled out Sky Forex Limited which he said was not affiliated to his association and also by the CBK.
Wachira appealed to the authorities to give the bureau owners time to continue operating their business as they go on with their investigations over alleged links to terrorism.
“I would only request the regulator and the security machinery to provide for an investigative period where they should allow them to operate when they are doing the investigations,” he urged.
Most of the exchange bureaus that appeared on the gazette notice remained closed on Wednesday with written notices that they would resume their operations soon.
READ: Forex Bureaus close after government directive
In Mombasa, two human rights lobby groups – Haki Africa and Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) also protested their appearance on the list linked to terrorism.
Confirming that their accounts were among those frozen by the government, they denied having any links to terror related activities.
Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid and MUHURI Executive Director Hassan Abdille said their work involved promoting good partnership between the government and communities.
“We can confirm with certainty that these allegations are not in any way true. It’s even laughable that anyone would associate our activities with such kind of allegations. Our work has always been to work with communities and the government to promote partnership,” Khalid alleged.
Earlier on Wednesday morning, National Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge said the government’s move to freeze the accounts of the 85 companies was in line with local and international laws.
He explained that it was also guided by the UN Security Council Resolution that promotes commitment to combating financing of terrorist activities.
“The actions that were taken yesterday (Tuesday) are fully consistent with international and domestic law and especially the UN Security Council Resolution on the financing of terrorism, of course with our law on Prevention of Terrorism Act. For the first time yesterday we produced a list of entities and persons that may have facilitated terrorism links,” Thugge said.
He said an investigation will be undertaken for further action to be taken, on those involved in funding terrorism especially the chilling Garissa terrorist attack that left 148 people dead.
In a gazette notice on Tuesday, the companies were given up to Wednesday evening to explain their entities.