KCB Group has picked three Islamic banking experts to run the Bank’s Sharia Advisory Committee, heightening the lender’s plan to roll-out the Islamic banking services in Kenya.
The scholars and religious leaders largely drawn from local universities, the High court and state parastatal, Kenya Pipeline company signed contracts to their formal appointment on Tuesday during the inauguration of the lender’s Shariah Advisory Committee.
Sheikh Ibrahim Lethome holds a Masters degree in Law and Islamic Shari’ah from the International Islamic University Islamabad, Pakistan and is also an advocate of the High Court of Kenya.
He serves as a legal advisor to the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) and Secretary General of the Islamic Foundation.
Dr. Abdulatif is a career linguist having lectured Arabic language at all levels at the University of Nairobi for the past sixteen years. Dr. Abdulatif, who holds a doctorate degree in Arabic language, also lectures at the Umma University.
Sheikh Ahmed M. Msallam has over 30 years of experience in matters pertaining to Shari’ah, having led various religious institutions in the country over the years. He served as the Director of the Muslim World League – Kenya Office for ten years.
Formation of the Committee marks the lender said is a major milestone as KCB finalises the architecture for its Islamic banking products and services to ensure they are in line with the regulatory framework, which will be operational by November 1.
KCB Group Chairman Ngeny Biwott said the appointment of the committee will give the bank the much needed support to successfully venture into Islamic finance, while assuring the team of scholars of independence to execute their mandate.
“We want to give the committee the independence to approve, supervise and audit the products and services. As a bank, we want to refine our originality and set standards in Islamic finance,” said Mr Biwott.
The Committee’s role is to approve product offerings, offer Shariah advisory services, train and help in capacity building of staff on Shariah matters and exercise oversight and audit our Shariah structures, processes and practices.
KCB Group CEO Joshua Oigara said KCB hopes to use the Islamic banking proposition to deepen the bank’s financial inclusion agenda that progressively looks at incorporating products and services to reach out to the unbanked population.
“Now that they have signed the contracts and individual letters of appointment, the scholars have already issued certificates confirming the Shariah compliance of the already developed products before we roll out the same to the market as from November 1st 2014” said Oigara.
The unit is headed by Jaafar sheikh Abdulkadir.
KCB Bank Tanzania is already offering Islamic banking services which is well supported with the regulatory framework that is in place in the country.