By Gerald Omumbo
A national conference on Illicit financial flows in Kenya has called for expeditious implementation of legislations that will enhance Beneficial Ownership Transparency as a measure to curb the flow of illicit finance in Kenya.
The conference co-organized by Transparency International Kenya (TI-Kenya) and Global Financial Integrity (GFI) on 19th March 2021 sort to establish the nexus between Illicit financial flows, Environmental Justice, Trade mis invoicing and Beneficial Ownership Transparency.
Participants noted that The Companies (Beneficial Ownership Information) Regulations, 2020 published through a Legal Notice dated 18th February 2020 by the Office of the Attorney-General in Kenya; that require companies to prepare and submit a copy of the Beneficial Ownership registers to the Registrar of Companies is a right step to curbing graft and promoting financial transparency.
Speaking during at the event, Hon. Shakil Shabir, Chairperson of African Parliamentarian’s Network Against Corruption -Kenya (APNAC-Kenya), said that Corruption and Illicit funding continue to undermine the sustainable development in Kenya, urging the civil society to continue supporting the policymakers in developing legislations that will help to curb graft and illicit funding Kenya.
“We have made progress in advocating for legislation on Beneficial Ownership Transparency, but a lot needs to be done to seal existing loopholes that allow illicit funding to thrive in our country.” Said Hon. Shakil Shabir.
While giving her remarks during the conference, Ms. Harriet Wachira, Programs Coordinator at TI-Kenya, noted that correct registration of companies, including easy identification of the true Beneficial Owner of a company, can help better target and prosecute environmental crimes, hence the need to fast track implementation of legislations on Beneficial Ownership.
“Requiring the disclosure of the real person who controls and economically benefits from a company is one of the most effective ways of curbing illicit financial flows.” Said Harriet Wachira.
Ms. Joyce Koech, Registrar of Companies at the Business Registration Services (BRS) in Kenya noted that the registrar had decided to extend the registration deadline for persons seeking to comply with the requirements of the Companies Act 2015 for 6 months from 1st February 2021 to 31st July 2021 to encourage more companies to submit their beneficial owners’ details.
The conference was organized under TI-Kenya’s Social Justice and Economic Accountability program with the goal of promoting legislation that will enhance the government’s ability to curtail IFFs and boost domestic resource collection.