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Absa Bank Kenya Defends Itself Over Anti-money Laundering Lapses

Absa Asset Management Limited has been granted a fund manager’s license by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA).

ABSA KENYA Nairobi Office

Absa Bank Kenya PLC, with its foreign exchange licence suspended, on Thursday it defended itself from wrongdoing following Central Bank’s penalty against it for failing to report specific foreign exchange trades it conducted in March.

In a statement, the lender said it canceled the said transactions when the Central Bank of Kenya raised its concerns.

“These were being executed on behalf of highly reputable global financial institutions, which are regulated in line with best international practice. The transactions were executed at prevailing market rates. The decision to cancel the transactions was taken to demonstrate our willingness to address fully the concerns of the regulator,” said Absa.

The regulator on Thursday suspended Absa Bank Kenya’s foreign exchange licence for failing to observe anti-money-laundering rules on some trades. 

As a result, Absa is required to cease transactions as an authorised foreign exchange dealer in the Kenyan market for seven days.

The regulator said Absa’s acknowledgment of its obligations as an authorised foreign exchange dealer and its commitment to address the underlying issues is noted. 

“By Wednesday, April 15, put in place a robust framework that ensures all relevant documents for such foreign exchange transactions are available as required and also ensures the AML/CFT and (KYC) requirements are adhered to,” CBK ordered.

“CBK reiterates the objective of building sound, fair and transparent financial markets, anchored in the law and according to global best practices,” said Dr. Patrick Njoroge, CBK Governor.

In its statement, Absa says it is in ongoing consultations and discussions with the Central Bank of Kenya to fully resolve all matters raised in the shortest possible time. 

“We remain committed to being a constructive participant in Kenya’s financial markets and to continue contributing to its further development in the interest of all customers and stakeholders.”

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