- The profits of some of those transactions will be analysed to determine if they're suspicious and if there are red flags.
- The red flags that will be created will then be able to report to the Financial Reporting Centre for them to craft some intelligence.
The masterminds of the illegal wildlife trade will no longer enjoy the ill-gotten money.
They will be tracked down to their last penny by financial institutions.
This will be possible after a new tool kit was launched on Thursday that will enable financial institutions curb the fourth largest organised crime—illegal wildlife trade.
The tool kit will identify, address and report suspicious transactions relating to illegal wildlife trade estimated to cost $23 billion (Sh2.6 trillion) annually, with financial crime being at the heart of the crime.
Wildlife trafficking is not only driving species to extinction and destabilising ecosystems but also fuelling corruption and undermining livelihoods in communities.
Statistics from World Wide Fund for Nature showed that around 20,000 African elephants are killed by poachers each year, while the rhino poaching has soared since 2007 with an average death rate of around 100 rhinos per month.
Data from TRAFFIC confirms that at least 23.5 tonnes of pangolins and their parts were trafficked in 2021 alone.
TRAFFIC is a leading non-governmental organisation working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
The new tool kit was launched at Kenya Wildlife Service headquarters, Langat road, it will make it difficult for criminals’ networks to profit off the illegal trade.
The tool kit has been developed by the UK in collaboration with TRAFFIC, World Wide Fund for Nature, Themis and with extensive contributions from partners such as Safaricom.
In attendance during the launch were; Tourism CS Najib Balala, UK’s minister for International Environment Lord Zac Goldsmith, UN's High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott, Wildlife Research Institute acting Director Dr Patrick Omondi and Conservation Secretary Erastus Kanga, WWF-K CEO Mohamed Awer, and Africa Wildlife Foundation Country Director Nancy Githaiga.
If for instance, the Kenya Wildlife Service is concerned about the movement of illegal wildlife, the reports will go to financial institutions for risk assessments and analysis of traffic around those areas to be done.
Also, the profits of some of those transactions will be analysed to determine if they're suspicious and if there are red flags.
The red flags that will be created will then be able to report to the Financial Reporting Centre for them to craft some intelligence.
The intelligence will help with law enforcement for prosecution.
The reports generated will also help in securing court orders such as freezing of the accounts and how the prosecution work will be processed.
The information generated from the new tool kit will be available to financial institutions to be able to use that in monitoring and in risk assessments to fight illegal wildlife trade.
Balala said Kenya is committed to combating illegal wildlife trade and particularly saving endangered species.
“Today, the pangolin is the most illegally trafficked mammal in the world. We are therefore grateful to all convening partners coming together with the ministry in launching this tool kit that will contribute to the safeguarding of our flora and fauna for the benefit of the future generation,”
Balala said a lot has been put in place to curb the illegal trade locally but Kenya still remains a transit hub.
The UK’s minister said Kenya has done a lot in safeguarding her fauna and flora and that the new tool kit will go along in tracking down suspicious transactions.
“We welcome Kenya’s continued efforts in prioritising and tackling the illegal wildlife trade. This tool kit we are launching today is an important part of our wider partnership on tackling illicit finance and a brilliant example of British and Kenyan expertise coming together. It will help financial institutions identify, report, suspicious transactions making it difficult for criminal networks to profit off the illegal trade,” he said.
Lord Goldsmith has been in Nairobi attending the fifth session of the United Nations’ Environment assembly whose key outcome was the UK co-sponsored the resolution on tackling plastic pollution. This establishes an intergovernmental negotiating committee tasked with preparing a new treaty to end plastic pollution in the new two years.
At the event, The Pangolin Project, a UK registered charity working to protect Pangolins and their habitat in Kenya, gifted KWS a pangolin sculpture to be displayed at the national park to create awareness about the most trafficked mammal in the world.
Dr Claire Okell, founder and director of the pangolin project in Kenya said, “Kenya has much to celebrate as it is home to three pangolin species. Pangolin is shy, mainly nocturnal mammals that eats ants and termites and their only defence mechanism is to curl into a ball and while effective against predators, this makes them extremely vulnerable to poaching.”
Pangolin scales are believed to have curative properties in East Asia, and their meat is highly regarded.
It is estimated that as many as 200,000 pangolins are consumed each year in Asia for their scales and meat.
Large concentrations of giant pangolins and tree pangolins are found in Uganda, Tanzania and Western Kenya and parts of the Kenyan Coast.