Kenya central bank upholds fines against lenders for suspect transactions

Kenya’s central bank has upheld the fines it imposed in September against five top commercial lenders for a failure to report suspicious transactions in connection with the theft of funds at a state agency, it said on Friday.

Penalties totaling 392.5 million shillings ($3.80 million)were imposed on Standard Chartered Kenya, Equity, Diamond Trust, Co-operative Bank, and KCB Group. The regulator said that the five banks had failed to report large transactions and to undertake proper due diligence on customers. It also accused them of approving large transactions without proper documents.
All the banks had been given the opportunity to respond to the findings of the investigation.

“CBK (Central Bank of Kenya) has reviewed each bank’s response to the penalty assessment and has concluded that the submissions were not sufficient to alter the findings of the investigations and the penalties assessed,” the bank said.
“Consequently, CBK has levied the penalties as assessed.”

The actions had been taken to safeguard stakeholders’ interests and to maintain a healthy financial sector, the central bank said in a statement. Dozens of senior government officials and business people were charged in May with various crimes related to the theft of nearly $100 million from the National Youth Service, marking a new effort to crack down on widespread corruption.