Dahabshill condemns blanket ban, appeals

Dahabshill, Chief Executive Officer Abdirashid Duale in Nairobi yesterday.
Dahabshill, Chief Executive Officer Abdirashid Duale in Nairobi yesterday.

GLOBAL money transfer company Dahabshill is appealing against a trading suspension by the government announced last week, following suspected terror-links in its network.

In a statement issued yesterday from its Dubai headquarters, the remittance firm which is popular among Somalis, has faulted the government's blanket ban on money transfer businesses that largely serves the Somali population living in Kenya.

"We are extremely concerned by, and vehemently dispute, both the allegations and action taken by the CBK against Dahabshiil Kenya which, if sustained, will have devastating repercussions for a large number of people in Somalia who rely on remittances sent from the Kenyan region," said Dahabshill Group external director Lyndon-Marc Adade.

Dahabshill is among the 85 firms and individuals suspected to be associated with the al Shabaab. The list names 13 money remittance firms in total which have since been suspended by the Central Bank of Kenya from trading pending investigations into their operations.

Following the suspension of the firms' business last Tuesday, the Kenya Forex Bureau Association complained stating that the industry has been severely hit as only one firm - Safaricom Money Transfer Services Ltd- remains in operation.

"For the avoidance of doubt, Dahabshiil, including its Kenya operation, has no involvement whatsoever with the funding of terrorist organisations and has (to its knowledge) never previously been the subject of any investigation of any kind in relation to alleged terrorist funding," the company said.

"Dahabshiil operates in over 126 countries and complies with all international laws and industry best practice, including anti-money laundering (AML), counter-terrorism financing and know your customer policies in every country in which it operates. No other central bank, in any country, has ever accused Dahabshiil of any illegal, illicit or even suspicious activity."

Media reports published yesterday quoted inspector general of police Joseph Boinett saying that the suspended firms on the terror list have five days expiring Friday, to appear before the National Counter Terrrism Centre in Nairobi to defend themselves against the allegations made.

Dahabshill said the state's decision to ban duly registered money transfer services used by the Somalis was counter productive as it will redirect the business to informal and unregulated channels thus posing more danger.

Dahabshill was issued with a licence in November 2013 and besides Somali families also serves NGOs such as Oxfam, the United Nations, African Development Solutions and Norwegian Church Aid, according to a client list posted on its website.