Somalia asks Kenya to reconsider freeze on money transfer firms
20 April 2015, 21:41
Nairobi - The Somali government on Monday appealed to Kenya's government to review its decision on freezing accounts of Somali money transfer companies on suspicion of financing terrorism.
Visiting Somali Prime Minister Omar Ali Sharmarke said Nairobi should allow those engaged in "genuine business" to continue with their money transfer businesses, popularly known as hawalas.
Sharmarke instead called on the Kenyan government to consider "training them on good financial practices."
"Kenya has a good financial system and we would like you to assist us in setting up sound financial services for those in hawalas business in Somalia," he said during a meeting with Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto in Nairobi.
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However, Sharmarke said Kenya should deal firmly with those found transacting for purposes of sponsoring terrorist activities.
In response, Ruto said Kenya's central bank was exploring the possibilities of bringing the money transfer service under financial regulatory system.
Kenya on April 7 published a list of 86 organizations and individuals as well as froze accounts of 13 financial institutions suspected of financing terrorism.
The government also suspended informal money transfer systems popular with the Somali community and asked the traders to use the service provided by commercial banks instead.
The list came after the attack by Somali Al-Shabaab gunmen on Kenya's Garissa University College that left 148 people dead.