By CONRAD ONYANGO
Even as banking sector embraces new innovations to tame increasing rates of money laundering, the intensity and variety of risks exposed to players are also on the rise.
The latest risks escalating the crime rates in the financial sector, are arising from political and military developments especially in the horn of Africa, calling for new risk management approaches by the institutions.
Head of Anti Money Laundering Network,Nigel Morris-Cotterill, while acknowledging efforts by the region to combat the risk of crimes in the COMESA region said more training is needed to fortify the effort.
“ The region has already made positive strides with the establishment of Councils for Interstate Security by such integration bodies like the East Africa Community and what needed to be done was “train and empower” bankers to aid in the fight,” said Morris-Cortterill.
In efforts to counter instability in the banking sector by addressing the new challenges, Anti-Money Laundering Network has announced it will lead a panel of senior bankers in the COMESA region on new counter money laundering skills ahead of the sixth annual AITEC Banking and Mobile Money conference.
Chairman of AITEC Africa, Sean Moroney, said the forthcoming seminar will update regional bankers and financial service providers including insurance and securities professionals on new concepts for countering the vice, as it impart skills to help deterrence, prevention and apprehension of money launderers.
“We understand the integral role that banks and other financial institutions including microfinance institutions play in the movement of money and have asked the Anti Money Laundering Network to present the seminar ahead of the main conference,” said Moroney.
The seminar has been prompted by the growing need for new skills to counter increasing cases of money laundering in the COMESA region. This follows fears by International security agencies that the ongoing war in Somalia and the mushrooming of terror group sympathizers in the region have contributed to a dramatic increase of money launderers.
According to PwC Kenya, banks lost approximately Sh 761 million to fraud in a six-month period starting January 2010. Money launderers stashed away with another Sh 1.7 billion in the three months period beginning August to October the same year. This led to an overall loss of Sh 2.46 billion to the criminals.
The two day seminar set for 5th and 6th of next month preceding the annual AITEC banking conference scheduled for 7th and 8th of the same month,will complement similar efforts by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
The latter has been engaging in activities aimed at strengthening the capacities of these professionals in the region in combating money laundering and terrorism financing.