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VIDEOS: Panic grips Kenya as the corrupt are hit hard by new rule on Sh1,000 notes

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The government has struck corrupt officials, launderers and those with ill-gotten money where it hurts most after the Central Bank of Kenya scrapped and recalled the current Sh1,000 notes.

In a shocking move that caught many unawares and that is expected to disrupt illicit financial flows, CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge said from October 1, the current Sh1,000 note would cease to be legal tender.

This means those with the Sh1,000 notes will either exchange them with new ones launched Saturday, deposit them at commercial banks, rush to bureaus to exchange them with foreign currency or stare at unbelievably massive losses.

Tax evaders, politicians, terrorist financiers and fraudulent businesspeople who will fail to get the money into the financial system will end up stuck with billions of hidden shillings that will become valueless in just months.

Those that have been hiding money in their bedrooms, bunkers, and safes will have the hardest task of getting it to banks or legitimising it.

 

The Sh1,000 note referred to in slang as “thao” or “ngiri”, is the highest denomination and is preferred by those carrying huge amounts.

It is now a race against time, given that they have weeks to clean their money.

But CBK may have anticipated this step already, having set up stringent anti-money laundering regulations that require one to account for funds when making withdrawals or deposits above Sh1 million.

“We have assessed the grave concern our large banknotes — particularly the older Sh1,000 series  are being used for illicit financial flows in Kenya and other countries in the region,” Dr Njoroge said at the Madaraka Day celebrations in Narok Saturday where he unveiled the new notes.

CBK insiders who spoke in confidence said Dr Njoroge’s announcement was the culmination of a secret operation that President Kenyatta was fully briefed about.

READ ALSO:   Igathe ditches Equity Bank and Kenyans wonder whether he can ever keep a job for long

Other senior government officials were, however, caught by surprise.

TRANSACTIONS

“More recently, we have seen the emergence of counterfeits. These are grave concerns that would jeopardise proper transactions and the conduct of commerce in our currency,” the CBK chief added.

“To deal conclusively with these concerns, the older Sh1,000 series shall be withdrawn. By a Gazette Notice dated May 31, 2019, all persons have until October 1, 2019, to exchange those notes, after which the older Sh1,000 will cease to be legal tender.”

The tough rules that have made it harder for people to clean illicit money include the requirement for bank customers to give a three-day notice to make over the counter transactions of more than Sh10 million, complete with supporting documents such as the source of the money, the purpose for withdrawing funds, the reason real-time gross settlement cannot be used and national identity cards/passport copies of the people involved in the transactions.

The guidelines also require the approval of the branch manager for cash transactions of Sh1 million to Sh10 million or the equivalent while cash transactions of Sh10 million to Sh20 million or the equivalent would require the approval of the regional branch manager or the senior manager.

This has made banks no-go zones for unsophisticated money launderers and those hoarding proceeds of corruption, forcing them to keep the money in their homes or offices.

Recent raids by anti-corruption detectives have unearthed hundreds of millions of shillings in unexplained wealth hidden in suspects’ houses.

SH225 BILLION

When Ethics and Anti-Corruption detectives raided homes and offices of National Land Commission bureaucrats recently, they reportedly found a total of Sh18 million in local and foreign currency.

Former NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri, chief executive Tom Aziz Chavangi and others are facing several corruption-related charges.

Late last year, Directorate of Criminal Investigations detectives reportedly found at least Sh700 million in the house of a personal assistant of a senior Jubilee party official during a secret raid though the matter never made it to court.

READ ALSO:   Kenyatta family acquires another bank at Sh1.4B

EACC and police officers investigating a Sh647 million Kenya Pipeline Company payout for hydrant pit valves supplies found Sh4 million from a suspect’s city residence last year.

EACC detectives told a court that they found more than Sh9 million in the homes and offices of a couple — Thomas Gitau Njogu and Teresia Njeri Gitau — during a raid in August 2017.

The trend has been similar in most corruption purges where millions of shillings have been found at houses.

During elections, many Kenyans withdraw billions of shillings from their accounts to keep at home due to political uncertainty.

In the 2017 General Election, an estimated Sh225 billion was withdrawn and kept at home in what is derisively referred to as “banking under the mattress”.

The CBK also launched other new generation notes at the same function. Circulation of these notes begins immediately.

This follows the launch of new coins with a wildlife theme in December.

RING-FENCE

In coming days, Kenyans will start seeing the new Sh50, Sh100, Sh200 and Sh500 notes that conform with the provisions of the Constitution, which require the CBK to come up currencies that do not have images of the sitting or former presidents.

A CBK source told the Sunday Nation that the regulator chose to do the process secretly to stop “serial litigious activists” from rushing to court to get injunctions, some on behalf of influential individuals.

This is why CBK announced the new currencies a day after it had gazetted them, to ring-fence the process from interference.

“The new generation banknotes were issued yesterday, May 31, 2019, by a gazette notice. They are now legal tender,” Dr Njoroge told the crowd in Narok.

The notes will come in themes and will have pictures of the country’s Big Five — the buffalo, the leopard, rhino, the lion and the elephant.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: See new Kenyan currency

CBK says the five notes would bear a significant aspect of Kenya, and like coins, they would serve as means of passing knowledge, conserving culture and promoting the country’s uniqueness.

All the notes would bear the image of the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.

“The banknotes also embody the big five — nyati (buffalo), chui (leopard), kifaru (rhino), simba(lion) and ndovu (elephant),” Dr Njoroge said.

Every note will have a theme to show the people and beautiful nature of Kenya.

The Sh50 note will symbolise green energy, Sh100 (agriculture), Sh200 (social services), Sh500 (tourism) and Sh1,000 (governance).

WATERMARK

“For the first time, the banknotes bear features that make them more accessible to the visually impaired members of our society,” Dr Njoroge said, adding that the CBK would soon roll out an awareness campaign on the features of the new notes.

The banknotes will circulate alongside those previously issued and not withdrawn.

Some of the security features of the notes include bars when felt at the edge.

The Sh50 note has one bar, Sh100 two bars, Sh200 three bars while the Sh500 and Sh1,000 notes will have four and five bars respectively.

CBK says when one runs fingers over the notes, he or she can feel Kenya and the value of the currencies.

When held up to the light from both sides, one can see a watermark of a lion’s head, the text “CBK” and the value of the note.

The security thread appears as a continuous line on the new note.

If the note is tilted at an angle, the thread changes colour from red to green.

The 200, 500 and 1,000 banknotes have additional rainbow colours on the thread.

“The golden band on the back of the note shows the value,” Dr Njoroge said.

SOURCE: nation.co.ke

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Africa

University of Botswana to offer Brexit course

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A course about Brexit, the UK’s plan to leave the European Union, is to be offered as an option by the University of Botswana’s history department.

The course, called Modern Britain, will “study the crisis” as it happens, a notice shared on Twitter said.

Students will, however, not sit for an exam.

Bruce Bennett from the university confirmed to the BBC that the course will be offered.

“[It] is intended to link the present crisis, which is of interest to many people, to the historical background,” he said.

He said that as an elective course students from other departments would be able to take it.

“There has been interest from students from across the university, including of course political science but not limited to them.”

He added that other major events in British history would also be covered.

“This semester the British history course will focus on the Brexit crisis, as it happens, in combination with relevant British history. This historical background includes both relatively recent events such as the Northern Irish Troubles and the Good Friday agreement, and the deeper background.”

READ ALSO:   Kenyatta family acquires another bank at Sh1.4B
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Igathe ditches Equity Bank and Kenyans wonder whether he can ever keep a job for long

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Equity Bank Managing Director Polycarp Igathe has rejoined Vivo Energy as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Igathe will assume his new role from September 1, barely a year after joining the lender.

“I am pleased to announce that Polycarp Igathe will rejoin Vivo Energy as the Executive vice president Sales and Marketing, a newly created role that is being added to the Vivo Executive Management (VEM),” Vivo Energy CEO Christian Chammas said in a statement.

In his new role, Igathe will be responsible for sales and marketing across the group.

Igathe was first named as Equity Bank’s Chief Commercial Officer in May 2018. The appointment came four months after he quit as Nairobi Deputy Governor citing lack of trust with his boss Mike Sonko.

He was promoted to the Equity MD position in September.

Igathe was the Vivo Energy Kenya MD before resigning to join politics.

His latest move sent Kenyans on Twitter into a frenzy, with many terming him a lucky guy whom “employment looks for.”

jeff_Elvtwin@JElvtwin

Some of us are seeking employment whereas employment is seeking Polycarp Igathe.

See jeff_Elvtwin’s other Tweets

just STEVE !!!@just_STEVE___

I pray to be as fortunate as one of these guys. Polycarp Igathe, Julius Kipngetich
Able to resign at breakfast and have another job by lunch time

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44 people are talking about this

A.F. Abbott@MrPhyc

Alafu Polycarp Igathe aanze story za “create employment, don’t just wait to be employed..”

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@nicky🇰🇪@Dennoh0

Next year time like now,Nairobi governor Sonko reappoints polycarp igathe as Nairobi county deputy governor

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JOE MUHAHAMI@Muhahami

Polycarp Igathe has left Equity Bank and rejoined Vivo Energy.

Damn this guy change jobs like baby diapers 🙊

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Kevoh Alexis@kevinkarobia1

The rate at which Polycarp Igathe is switching jobs makes us wonder what he studied at school@polycarpigathe

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17 people are talking about this

Lazooj@Lazooj

Polycarp Igathe can switch employers at will, you try switching employers yearly, and in your next job interview utaskia “You don’t seem loyal to your employers, 4 jobs in 2 years? why should we hire you? What guarantee can you give that you won’t leave before the year closes”.

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42 people are talking about this

erick odhis@erickodhis

“Polycarp Igathe” somebody once told me up there the top of the pyramid they are very few and lonely never be surprised when an individual heads multiple organizations and grace all events invited

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John Muse@John__muse

Kwani Polycarp Igathe anakuanga na Rocket science degree?

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READ ALSO:   Igathe ditches Equity Bank and Kenyans wonder whether he can ever keep a job for long
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VIDEO: Hope for Stateless Shona Community in Kenya as they are set to be given Birth Certificates

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Imagine living all your adult life as a stateless person. This is the case with at least 4,000 members of the Shona community who live in Kenya. Originally from Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and South Africa, they came to Kenya in the 1960s to spread the Gospel and although recognized by Kenya’s founding fathers, they were never granted citizenship. This situation has continued todate denying them basic rights including education and employment.

88 year old Mofat Ngwabi, sits comfortably in his chair in his home in Kinoo in the ouskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. Mofat is one of the few still alive who remembers when the Shona people of Zimbabwe arrived in Kenya in the 1960s.

He was part of a group of around 100 missionaries, who came to establish the Gospel of God Church. When they arrived they were met and welcomed by the first post-independence President of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta. Mofat looks on proudly at a photo of the encounter with the President that hangs on the wall in the church office.

Despite the meeting, and receiving the blessing of the President to establish a church, the Shona could not be registered because under the first post-independence constitution, there was no provision for people not of Kenyan descent to be registered as citizens.

“We can’t enjoy services that nationals enjoy.”

It has rendered them stateless today, meaning without Kenyan citizenship or nationality.

As a result, Mofat, his seven children, nine grandchildren, and two great grandchildren who were all born in Kenya, have never had the right to become citizens. Though they speak the national language, Swahili, and local Kikuyu dialect spoken where they live. Though they are deeply ingrained in Kenya culture, from food to music. Though none of them has ever left Kenya to travel abroad, the fact that they are not recognized as Kenyans has left the family feeling a deep sense of despair.

It’s a problem affecting over 4000 Shona people in Kenya who descended from the church.

Mike Moyo, a Carpenter in nearby Kiambu County just outside the capital, is in the same situation as Mofat. All of Mike’s 10 children and 7 grandchildren were born in Kenya but are stateless.

“We are like dead men walking.”

“All my 10 children do not have birth certificates, and the older ones do not have identity cards. It’s awful,” says Mike.

Ramik, Mike’s eldest son says the effects have been dreadful.

“We can’t enjoy services that nationals enjoy. We don’t have mobile banking and going to the hospital is also a challenge. Birth certificate are needed for class 8 registration for our children who are in primary school so sometimes we are forced to ‘buy’ parents so that our children can continue with education. We cannot even save money.”

And so the vicious cycle of statelessness continues to the next generation in the Moyo family.

Some Shona people have married Kenyans which has helped their children acquire documents such as birth certificates. But the Shona say marrying nationals is not the solution. They say they deserve to be recognized as Kenyans.

The situation has meant that thousands of Shona people can’t be employed formally, and so survive doing informal work.

Many Shona women  weave baskets and do bead work to put food on the table they say. A lack of documents has forced them to sell their products for far less than they are worth through middle men.

Ben Kapota, a stateless father of eight who also lives in Kiambu says;

“I have been arrested several times because of moving around without an identity card. My community members had to bail me out. We are like dead men walking. If anything happens to us far from home, people will not be able to identify you just because you do not have an identity card.”

“I have been arrested several times because of moving around without an identity card.”

“If I got an ID card today, the first thing I will do is to get a driver’s license, then get a passport and start doing business.” Says Ben.

Despite the situation, many Shona are however hopeful that the Kenyan government will give them citizenship soon.

Shona community leaders and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in Kenya, have met with the government to try and find a solution for Shona people.

The Makonde community, originally from Mozambique were recently recognized by the government as Kenyans and given nationality, as the 43rd tribe of Kenya. This act has revived hopes that there will be a speedy solution for the Shona.

Read our statelessness report, “This is our home”: Stateless minorities and their search for citizenship” here. The report was released to mark the third year of the #IBelong campaign to end statelessness.

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