The fight against money laundering vs legal professional privilege in Kenya’s anti-money laundering regime: the need to designate legal practitioners as reporting entities

The term “money laundering” has widely been defined as the process by which the illegitimate source of large amounts of money is disguised in order to legitimize the proceeds of crime.1 This means that large amounts of money generated from criminal activities are made to appear to have come from a legitimate source.
The fight against money laundering dates back to the year 1990 when the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) an international intergovernmental body whose mandate is to develop and promote policies to protect the global financial system against money laundering, imposed upon financial institutions the role of policing money laundering.2 However, over the years, criminals have engaged non-financial institutions such as legal practitioners as professional intermediaries for converting funds derived from money laundering operations due to the air of legitimacy provided by their services.3 Consequently, in the year 2013, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), published a typologies report highlighting the potential vulnerability of legal professionals to money laundering operations and in effect categorized them as Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBP’s) in its recommendations thus imposing upon such professionals the gatekeeper role to police the crime of money laundering.