Kenyan Bank Implicated in S. Sudan Money Laundering

Fredrick Ngugi September 20, 2016
South Sudanese militants. News Week

The Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) has been linked to ongoing money laundering activities by South Sudanese officials since 2012, according to recent findings by the Sentry.

The report indicates that foreign companies have been making direct payments to personal bank accounts of high-ranking South Sudanese generals, who, according to the Sentry – a U.S.-based investigative organization – knowingly or unsuspectingly, facilitate the “violent kleptocracy that South Sudan has become.”

“Documents reviewed by the Sentry show $3.03 million moving through Gen. Reuben Riak’s personal bank account at Kenya Commercial Bank between 2012 and 2016,” the Sentry reports.

“Those documents further indicate that Gen. Jok Riak also received large financial transfers totaling at least $367,000 to his personal bank account at KCB from February to December 2014 alone – sums that dwarf his government salary of about $35,000.”

The report further reveals that the financial transfers were apparently from Dalbit International, a Kenyan multinational corporation operating in South Sudan.

Dalbit told the Sentry, though, that the transfers, totaling $308,524.10, were a repayment for a fuel supply deal with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army that had fallen through, and that they had been directed to deposit the money in to three bank accounts, including the one held by General Jok Riak.

“This was neither a business transaction nor relationship between Dalbit and the General,” Dalbit reportedly told the Sentry.

Lack of Due Diligence

In the report, the Sentry accuses KCB of bending the rules for politically exposed South Sudanese leaders, including senior government officials, judges, military officers, and top executives of state-owned corporations, together with their families.

“Documents reviewed by the Sentry indicated that Kenya Commercial Bank processed large payments from multinational companies operating in South Sudan in to the accounts of two senior South Sudanese politically exposed senior persons over a period of several years,” the Sentry reveals.

Some of these transactions were allegedly made even after the persons involved had been sanctioned by the international community for their alleged involvement in the ongoing civil war in South Sudan.

“Bank transactions for Gen. Jok Riak were apparently processed even after he became subject to a United Nations-imposed asset freeze in March 2015,” the Sentry adds.

According to the Sentry, KCB did not reply to requests for comment presented to them by the organization.

Spoils of War

Top officials allegedly involved in the ongoing war in South Sudan have reportedly amassed fortunes while the rest of the country continues to suffer consequences, with some regions experiencing near-famine conditions.

Unfortunately, if the allegations are true, these officials have effectively ensured that there is no accountability for their wrong deeds, which include human rights violations and financial crimes.

South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, has been embroiled in deadly civil war since December 2013, after President Salva Kirr fell out with his former Vice President Riek Machar.

Since the fall out, hundreds of people have died and millions have been displaced from their homes.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


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