Kenya takes over leadership of anti-money laundering body

Wednesday October 11 2023

Kenya's National Treasury and Economic Planning Cabinet Secretary Prof Njuguna Ndung'u. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG


Kenya will lead the region in the fight against money laundering from next year after taking over the leadership of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG).

Kenya's Treasury Cabinet Secretary (CS) Njuguna Ndung'u and the director-general of the Financial Reporting Centre, Saitoti ole Maika, assumed leadership of the ESAAMLG as Chair of the Council of Ministers and Chair of the ESAAMLG Task Force of Senior Officials, respectively, during the group's last meeting in Kasane, Botswana.

Kenya's term in the regional group took effect in September 2023 for a period of one year, with Prof Ndung'u at the helm of the main decision-making body, the Council of Ministers.

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The ESAAMLG is a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) established to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It consists of a Council of Ministers (Council), a Task Force of Senior Officials, a Steering Committee and a Secretariat.

"The Council is ultimately responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Group, including the approval of programmes. It is chaired by a President who serves for a period of one year" Mr Saitoti said.


The task force, on the other hand, is headed by a chairperson and comprises senior government officials from the legal, financial and law enforcement communities in the ESAAMLG region who are responsible for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and is responsible for all technical matters and making recommendations to the Council for approval.

Kenya takes over the leadership of the critical financial sector regulatory body just as the country completes its one-year FATF monitoring period this month, following the release of its AML/CFT Mutual Evaluation Report in November 2022.

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Mr Saitoti noted that Prof Ndung'u had been instrumental in establishing the current AML/CFT regime and was therefore well suited to lead the body until next year.

He also said that Kenya is addressing 107 recommended actions identified in the Mutual Evaluation Report and expects a positive review in February 2024.