Massive counterfeit seizure in Kenya


Kenyan police seized $20 million of counterfeit banknotes stored in a personal safety deposit box at a branch of Barclays Bank Kenya, the directorate of criminal investigations said.

Police also arrested six people, including two bank staff members, the directorate said in a statement on its Twitter account.

“Six people were arrested today evening by … detectives in connection with fake currency amounting to slightly over $20 million (at Barclays Kenya) Queensway Branch,” the statement said.

“The fake notes in $100 denominations were recovered from the bank’s safe room.”

A Reuters witness saw a crowd outside the branch, shouting angrily and demanding officers reveal their identities.

Barclays Kenya, part of South Africa’s Absa Group, confirmed police had seized fake currency from a customer’s deposit box and said it was not the bank’s money and it was co-operating with the investigation.

“The customer concealed fake currency in his personal safe deposit box against bank rules and regulations which include restrictions on items which can be held in a safe deposit box,” it said in a statement.

The seizure comes when lawmakers are pushing for implementation of amendments to banking laws to relax the rigorous requirements for recording transactions above $10,000.

The central bank said the changes could undermine efforts to tackle money laundering, financing terrorism and proceeds of crime.

A court case challenging implementation of the amendments is due to be heard on March 29.