Monday, April 19, 2021

Kenya: Credit Bank CEO faces money-laundering investigation


The Deputy Director, Head of Offences Against the Person Department at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Jacob Ondari has ordered an investigation against Credit Bank CEO Betty Korir over alleged banking fraud.

This was after a whistle-blower associated her with money-laundering offences and illegal acquisition of property.

“This is a serious complaint touching on the fraudulent acquisition of property and conflict of interest and money laundering,” Ondari said in a letter dated May 20, as quoted by the Star.

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The CEO is reported to have used another company to access the funds from China, which were cashed out in suspect circumstances disguised as a business loan.

Betty Korir, a lawyer by profession, was appointed the Bank’s CEO in 2017, after serving as the head of credit and the deputy CEO.

Before that, Ms Korir worked for Triodos Bank in the United Kingdom.

By the time of going to press, Ms Korir had not responded to our phone calls and messages.

Credit Bank is a third tier lender partly owned by former finance Minister Simeon Nyachae.

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As of December 2018, the bank’s total assets were valued at approximately US$178.28 million (Ksh17.805 billion), with shareholders’ equity valued at US$28.67 million (Ksh2.86 billion).

In 2019, the bank sold 22.8 percent stake to Dutch Private equity fund Oiko Credit for Ksh1 billion.

The bank has at least 17 branches countrywide.

Last year, Kenya was classified among the global money-laundering hotspots by the US government.

According to a report by the United States Department of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the state of affairs in the country are instigated by lack of controls on terrorism financing.

“Kenya remains vulnerable to money laundering and financial fraud. It is the financial hub of East Africa, it’s banking and financial sector in sophistication, and it is at the forefront of mobile banking,” read the report in part published last year.

The reports state that the laundering is deep-rooted in both the formal and informal sectors. manoeuvring and escaping the government eye. It is orchestrated through criminal activities like transnational organised crime, cybercrime, corruption, smuggling, trade invoice manipulation, illicit trade in drugs and counterfeit goods, trade in illegal timber and charcoal and wildlife trafficking.

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