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Kenya to retire old 1,000 shilling banknote to stem illicit flows

Nairobi

KENYA plans to withdraw an old version of its 1,000 shilling (S$13.57) banknote to tackle illicit financial flows and counterfeiting, its central bank governor Patrick Njoroge said on Saturday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta promised to stamp out graft when he was first elected in 2013, but there have been few high profile convictions since he took office.

While launching new bank notes of other denominations during a national holiday celebration, Mr Njoroge said that older versions of smaller denominations will remain in circulation alongside the new ones, but after Oct 1, the older 1,000 shilling note would be invalid. "We have assessed the grave concern that our large banknotes, particularly the older one thousand shillings series, are being used for illicit financial flows in Kenya and also other countries in the region," he said.

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The central bank's move comes as Kenyan lawmakers push for the implementation of amendments to banking laws that would relax the east African country's rigorous requirements for recording transactions above US$10,000.

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