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5 Kenyan banks fingered in looting of public funds

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has slapped hefty fines on five top banks that are alleged to have been involved in the transactions of the second phase of the National Youth Service scandal.

Investigations by CBK revealed that the five banks were used by persons suspected of transacting illegally acquired NYS funds using the financial institutions.

The five banks, which were fined a total of Ksh.394 million include; Kenya Commercial Bank, Equity Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Diamond Trust and Cooperative Bank of Kenya.

Of the total amount, KCB will pay the highest monetary penalty of Ksh.149.5 million followed by Equity Bank which has been hit with a fine of Ksh.89.5 million and Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Ltd, whose penalty is Ksh.77.5 million.

Diamond Trust Bank and Co-operative Bank of Kenya have been fined Ksh.56 million and Ksh.20 million respectively.

Read also: Nigeria may be headed for another recession as economy slows in Q2 2018

A statement issued by the Central Bank on Wednesday indicates that over Ksh.3.6 billion was wired through the five banks with the largest flow of Ksh.1.6 billion having been channeled through Standard Chartered Bank.

Equity bank and KCB are reported to have handled Ksh.886 million and Ksh.639 million respectively while Diamond Trust Bank is said to have facilitated Ksh.162 million from the NYS loot.

Some of the violations include failure to report large cash transactions, failure to undertake adequate customer due diligence, lack of supporting documentation for large transactions, and lapses in the reporting of Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) to the Financial Reporting Centre (FRC).

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Somalia gives foreign banks licence to operate in decades

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The Somali government has announced the licensing of foreign banks for the first time in over two decades six weeks after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud was sworn into office following an elections that took years to conduct following a lingering political crisis.

The announcement which was made on Monday by the governor of the Central Bank of Somalia (CBS) Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, said the war-ravaged country has granted banking licenses to two foreign institutions to operate in the country after President Mohamoud had promised to open the country to international investment during his campaigns for the elections.

The first foreign banking institutions to benefit from the decision are Egyptian bank, Banque Misr, and Turkish bank, Ziraat Katilim, who have been allowed to operate in Somalia.

“The review of the applications of these two banks has been the subject of a lengthy process of several months.

“These are two strong banks that will add value to the development of Somalia’s financial sector and contribute to the growth of our economy,” the CBS governor said

Ranked one of the poorest countries in the world by the World Bank, the average Somalian lives on less than $1.90 a day as the country struggles to recover from decades civil war and and opening its doors to foreign investments is seen as President Mohamoud fulfilment of his pledge to improve the economic situation and provide basic banking services to the population.

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Egypt Suez Canal announces record $7bn profit in 2021-2022

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The management of the Egyptian Suez Canal has announced a record profit of $7 billion for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which it said was as a result of repeatedly raising transit fees for ships through the crucial passage for world trade.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA), said on Monday that between July 2021 and June 2022, about 1.32 billion tonnes of cargo transited through the canal, providing a $7 billion rent in transit fees, which is the highest in the history of the SCA, its Executive Chairman, Admiral Osama Rabie, said.

Rabie added that the Canal was able to increase its profit by 20.7% compared to the previous financial year where it made €5.5 billion.

The Suez Canal handles about 10% of the world’s maritime trade and is one of Cairo’s main sources of foreign currency and despite the war in Ukraine and the rise in the oil price which has affected shipping, the canal also recorded its highest monthly turnover in April, valued at €605 million according to Rabie.

“The international crises have demonstrated the importance of the Suez Canal for the stability of global supply chains,” Rabie said.

He added that the Canal has contributed significantly to the growth of the North African country’s economy which has been caught between inflation of over 15% and a recent devaluation of the pound by nearly 20%, which had increased transit fees for oil and gas shipments by 6% in February and then by 5 to 10% in March.

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