NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4 – Detectives on Friday recovered millions of fake US dollars in Kilimani during an operation that led to the arrest of seven suspects.
Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said the operation was “intelligence driven.”
The suspects are set to be charged in court on Monday.
This is the fourth major recovery of fake foreign currency by detectives in less than 12 months, a trend that has put detectives on high alert.
Just last month, detectives recovered Sh1.2 billion in fake US dollars at Queensway Barclays Bank in Nairobi.
The cash was found in a customer’s safe deposit box by a team of DCI Flying Squad officers. Five suspects were arrested and charged in court.
On February 27, detectives recovered 75kgs of fake gold and Sh32 billion worth of fake notes. Seven suspects were arraigned in court and are out in bail pending hearing and determination of the case.
In October 2018, police recovered billions of fake cash in foreign currencies inside an apartment located along Brookside drive in Westland’s.
According to the United States Department of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, money laundering is rampant-and occurs both in formal and informal sectors.
The bureau linked the activities to “domestic and foreign criminal operations.”
The report stated that the country, “ remains vulnerable to money laundering and financial fraud” being a financial hub within the East African region.
“Criminal activities include transnational organized crime, cybercrime, corruption, smuggling, trade invoice manipulation, illicit trade in drugs and counterfeit goods, trade in illegal timber and charcoal, and wildlife trafficking,” reads the report.
Other than being a financial hub, Kenya’s proximity to war-torn Somalia was highlighted as a major factor making it prone to money laundering.
“Kenya remains vulnerable to money laundering and financial fraud. It is the financial hub of East Africa, its banking and financial sectors are growing in sophistication, and it is at the forefront of mobile banking,” reads the report.
According to the report, financial institutions engage in currency transactions connected to international narcotics trafficking involving significant amounts of U.S. currency derived from illegal sales in Kenya, other East Africa countries, the United States, and elsewhere.
Among the identified challenges include, “to demand bank records or seize an account, police must obtain a court order by presenting evidence linking deposits to a criminal violation. Confidentiality of this process is not well maintained, allowing account holders to be tipped off and to move assets.”