FinCEN files: 53 Kenyan banks, individuals made illicit transactions worth Ksh.6 trillion
About 53 Kenyan companies and individuals have been named as being part of a global team that involves terrorist networks and drug cartels that moved $2 trillion of allegedly illicit funds over a period of nearly two decades.
The Kenyan companies and individuals appear in a leak of banking records submitted to the US department of treasury as suspicious financial activity amounting to Ksh.6 trillion ($60 billion).
BuzzFeed broke the story on Sunday based on leaked suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed by banks and other financial firms with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen).
The SARs, which the reports said numbered more than 2,100, were obtained by BuzzFeed News and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and other media organizations.
It offers an unprecedented view of global financial corruption, the banks enabling it, and the government agencies that fail to stop it.
Purity Ngondi of African Uncensored who was part of the 400 member team of journalists from the ICIJ, said most of the funds are proceeds of bribery, corruption tax fraud and money laundering.
“We just looked into one company and the transactions from that one entity was Ksh.300 million and we are looking at 53 entities, so just a rough calculation of the funds is $60 billion on the lower side,” she said.
Some of the sectors and individuals involved include oil companies, pharmaceutical and medical products companies. Others are travel agents, online forex trading businesses, telecoms, manufacturing companies, government entities and politicians.
In the report some of the illegal transactions were made to look like payments that were made in coffee exports.
“The scale at which this impacts a country like Kenya is unbelievable, you have a company that allegedly paid Ksh.300 million in coffee payments and if you look closely they are not based in Kenya and the payments are being made to a tax heaven,” added Ngondi.
The FinCEN files is a cache of financial intelligence reports that reveals the role of global banks in industrial-scale money laundering and the bloodshed and suffering that flow in its wake.