NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 4 – The High Court was on Tuesday set to give directions in a case filed by an activist, challenging the roll-out of the new generation notes.
Activist Okiya Omtatah filed a case at the Milimani Law Courts on Monday, accusing the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) of violating the Constitution by having a statue of Kenya’s founding President Jomo Kenyatta at the back of all the new notes.
In the suit papers, which were certified urgent, Omtatah argues that the move by CBK violates Article 231(4) of the Constitution.
He accuses the CBK of not conducting public participation in the design stage to determine its imagery.
“The Constitution decrees that Kenyan currency bank notes shall not bear the portrait of any individual,” he argues.
He is also challenging the demonitization of the Sh1,000-notes after October 1, insisting that the move is not supported by any provisions in law.
Justice Weldon Korir said he will issue directions on the matter on Tuesday morning.
But Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge has defended the move, saying they are ready to face any legal challenge, while insisting that the law was followed.
“We will continue to release all the bank notes to banks and microfinance institutions and I am ready to meet anyone in court opposing the new bank notes as a matter of urgency,” he said.
The governor added that it’s not the first time Kenya is demonetising bank notes.
“We did this back in 2011 with the Sh5 notes and they are no longer in the market. We need to embrace the new change as it will help fight illicit flaw of fake currency that has hit headlines in the past months,” said the CBK Governor.
Kenyans can however make deposit transactions as usual where all rules will still apply. The new bank notes are already in circulation in different banks.
Anyone intending to exchange notes valued at Sh5 million and above is required to contact the Central Bank, while lower amounts can be exchanged at any commercial bank, in a move targeting those hoarding huge cash amounts.