Firms deny terrorism links as others close offices
09 April 2015, 07:40
Nairobi - Two out of 86 organizations whose bank accounts were frozen by the government on suspicion of financing terrorism have denied such links.
Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) and Haki Africa said separately they have complied with the government's regulations and their books were open for external scrutiny.
"MUHURI received not only shocking but very disturbing news today morning that our accounts have been frozen. We tried to get in touch with our bank branch manager who seems not have the news, " MUHURI board chairperson Khelef Khalifa said.
Khalifa called on the government to immediately reconsider the decision as the poor are the people who are going to suffer from such decision.
"We want to inform the public that our work will continue as normal and we shall not deter from doing our work in the struggle to promote and protect the enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties," he added.
The response came after Inspector General of police, Joseph Boinnet gazetted 86 names of people and organizations linked to terrorism citing section III of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2012, which declares them as a specified entity.
"In accordance with subsection II of section III of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2012, the Inspector General of Police notifies the entities set out in the attached list to demonstrate within the next 24 hours why it should not be declared as a specified entity," said Boinnet in the notice.
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Haki Africa executive director Hussein Khalid said he wrote to NIC Bank Nkrumah road in Mombasa demanding an explanation within 24 hours. He said neither the State nor the bank have sent official communication regarding the freeze.
"We sent our officer to withdraw some cash but he was told that our accounts were inaccessible," Khalid said in Mombasa.
"As of now, we are awaiting formal communication from any government or bank official before deciding our next move," he said the organization is implementing human rights programs that will be affected by any delay in the supply of funds.
The government has been probing some foreign and local bank accounts suspected to support terrorism activities in the country as police intensify war against criminal elements in the country.
Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Director Ndegwa Muhoro said the accounts are being probed for having ties with Al-Shabaab terror group activities.
Some of the affected entities put notices on their entries in Nairobi apologizing to their customers for the closure.
"Dear esteemed customers, we regret to inform you that we are closed for business until further notice. We apologize for the inconvenience caused," reads a notice at the Dahabshill Money Transfer Limited.
All those affected are in Nairobi and were used to transfer money from other parts of the world to Somalia.
Treasury Principal Secretary Kimani Thugge said the accounts had been red-flagged over suspicious financial activities. He said the Financial Reporting Sector will investigate the suspicious transactions.
"We did this based on our laws and international laws after it emerged they are financing terrorism. Those affected have been informed," said Thugge.
He spoke during an inter-ministry press conference on last Thursday's Garissa University College attack that left 148 dead.
Thugge said the closure of the 13 financial institution or remittance companies was part of the efforts to tame terrorism in the country.
"These wide-ranging efforts include the freezing of all accounts suspected to have links to the masterminds of the terrorist attack. Members of the public should also be more vigilant to help forestall any acts of terrorism or security breaches," he said.
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