Recent Financial Crime Trends in Kenya


Crimes committed by an individual or a group of individuals which involve taking another’s property or money, to obtain a financial or professional gain are referred to as Financial Crimes ‘FC’. FC prevalent in Kenya are fraud, corruption, drug crimes, tax crimes, product piracy, cybercrime, wildlife crime, and money laundering.  This article will consider some of these recent financial crimes in Kenya, although not exhaustively.

The main financial crime threats in Kenya range from fraud and related economic crimes to corruption & drug crimes.  These are followed by tax crimes, product piracy, cybercrime, wildlife crime, and money laundering.


Fraud basically refers to actions carried out by individuals, firms, etc. to unlawfully benefit from another. Types of fraud in Kenya include; tax fraud, credit card fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, and bankruptcy fraud.

Tax fraud, which involves the evasion of tax payments in order to benefit illegally, is very common in Kenya. On the 11th of May, the Kenyan Revenue Authority ‘KRA’ revealed it had plans to start mining data from digital devices in a bid to combat tax and financial fraud. The KRA has outlined a number of actions that can be said to amount to tax fraud. This year, the authority recovered about $13.7 million from tax evaders in out-of-court tax dispute resolution. 

Money Laundering

It’s been over 4 decades of the fight against corruption. The Country’s Proceeds of Crime and Anti-money Laundering ‘AML’ Act 2009, now ‘Bill’ 2021, seeks to counter the money laundering problem in Kenya. Quite recently, a court in Kenya froze more than $40m in accounts belonging to a Fintech firm under the country’s AML laws.


There has been a rise in cybercrime in Kenya, so much so that the Kenyan authorities liaised with FBI to combat same. Kenya, said to be the epicenter of cybercrime, has now put in place its Cybersecurity Laws and Regulations Kenya to fight cybercrime.

Drug Crime

Drug crime by way of trafficking, is common on the Kenyan coast in Nairobi. A plethora of cases of suspects being arrested and prosecuted exists, these traffickers launder the proceeds from their illegal acts.


Cybercrime, drug crimes, and product piracy are expected to increase whereas action taken against the others suggests the trend as either neutral or reducing. The Banking sector remains the sector that still represents the biggest potential money laundering vulnerability because of its importance, but money remittance providers, money network operators, real estate, legal & motor vehicle dealers also present important potential Anti Money Laundering/ Combatting the financing of Terrorism vulnerabilities.

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