Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Common ways how money laundering is done in Kenya

By Benson Bundi

Money laundering is a lucrative and illegal activity that involves disguising money earned from criminal activity, such as drug trafficking so that it appears to have come from legitimate sources.

Unfortunately, Kenya is no stranger to this kind of crime, with citizens and international criminals participating in these illegal activities. But what strategies are used to launder money here in Kenya?

In this blog post, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the common most common ways people try to get away with moving dirty money across the nation’s borders.

1.   Gold

Gold has become a popular choice for launderers in Kenya as of late. How many times have you heard of gold scandals in our local media? Well, that’s because it’s a viable option for ill-gotten laundering money.

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With a reliable black market, it’s easy to keep transactions under the radar, with no messy paperwork required! After all, why struggle with complicated financial mechanisms when you can exchange your illegal income for gold?

Gold provides anonymity and durability; unlike other costly investments, it is untraceable and never depreciates.

2.   Jewellery

In Kenya, it’s not just jewellery that sparkles and shines – money can too. With access to many beautiful stones, fabrics, and metals, criminals can flaunt their newfound wealth and remain relatively undetected.

Kenyan authorities have reported an increase in suspiciously elaborate pieces and massive investments into seemingly mundane pieces over the past couple of years – all critical signs of money laundering through jewellery.

Unfortunately, shifting fashion tastes or a need for change won’t undo these ill-gotten gains; only law enforcement can end this increasingly ostentatious problem.

3.   Raw Diamonds

Much like gold, diamonds are a great way to launder money without much fuss. Most Kenyan citizens have no idea how much money is being moved around the country via this laundering technique.

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Diamond is a rare and valuable resource, so it’s not hard to understand why criminals would choose to invest in them. The rarer the stone, the more money it can fetch.

Coupled with relative anonymity and low risk of detection, these diamonds make for a great getaway car for criminals looking to hide their dirty money.

4.   Casinos

Gambling has become a popular form of entertainment worldwide, and Kenya is no exception. People flock to our nation’s casinos regularly, often unaware of the illegal activities behind the scenes.

Money laundering in Kenyan casinos is relatively common, as it involves laundering large amounts of money in a short amount of time.

The corruption here is so deep that criminals can easily hide their ill-gotten gains within the casino’s complex network of accounts and transactions.

5.   Real Estate Projects

Real estate projects have become popular for those looking to launder money in Kenya. With million-dollar properties popping up like mushrooms, it’s hard to believe they are bought with legitimate funds.

With construction booming across the country and real estate prices rising, Kenyans now have more options than ever when finding ways to hide their cash from prying eyes.

It’s not just real estate developers on this scheme – even average investors can get in on a good deal if they know how. But beware – officials in Kenya are onto this trend and coming down hard with regulations to combat money laundering.

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These are the five primary methods criminals use to launder money in Kenya. Others include:

  • Antiquities: Buying and selling of art, artefacts, and other antiquities
  • Proxy Funds: Using third parties to transfer funds to conceal the source of the money
  • Deposit boxes: Using false names to deposit cash into safety deposit boxes
  • Merges and acquisitions: Buying and selling of companies to hide the source of money
  • Cryptocurrencies: Using digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, for anonymous transactions
  • Banks in Dubai: Making use of lax banking regulations in Dubai to stealthily transfer money.

Money laundering is a serious worldwide problem, and Kenya is no exception. As criminals become increasingly creative with their methods, the public must know the most common tactics used to launder money in our country.

By learning about these practices and reporting any suspicious activity, we can work together to ensure the safety and security of our nation’s finances.

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