GFI Hosts Radio Show on Illicit Financial Flows
By Francis Kairu, December 15, 2020
With support from Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), GFI organized a series of Swahili radio shows aimed at building community knowledge and understanding of illicit financial flows (IFFs) and the linkages to corruption and beneficial ownership. For the first show in this series, GFI invited panelists from the Ethics and Anticorruption Commission (EACC) and the Kwale County government. The radio show was slated on Kaya FM which is ranked by the Communications Authority as the 2nd most listened to station in the coastal region. It broadcasts in Swahili and is widely respected for incisive shows. Our radio spot was scheduled for Sunday afternoon which is prime time for topical discussions on a programme called “Fataki ya Ukweli.”
GFI was represented by Francis Kairu the Africa Policy and outreach coordinator, while the county was represented by Mr Juma Nzao who is a chief officer at the county. EACC was represented by Philip Kagucia who is an assistant director at the commission and an expert on anticorruption.
The show covered the following topics in relation to Illicit Financial flows:
- Introduced financial and economic crime and the relations to illicit financial flows.
- Provided examples on drivers of IFFs e.g. corruption, money laundering, wildlife trafficking & tax evasion.
- Discussed the different roles county govt, civil society, and enforcement institutions can play to reduce IFFs.
- Drew Links between IFFs and service delivery especially at county level.
- Discussed enforcement measures under several laws such as the Anticorruption and Economic Crimes Act and the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act.
- Highlighted some case studies in Kwale e.g. on natural resources (Titanium, Niobium etc.)
Kairu introduced IFFs and why citizens should care about the illicit movements of funds. Illicit funds are derived from corruption, tax evasion, wildlife trafficking and human trafficking. The Mombasa port held high importance for the economy of the region and the country and it is therefore wrong to have it feature consistently as a conduit for transnational crime and IFFs. Some major challenges to the lives of citizens in Kwale and the coast region could be addressed by curbing IFFs. These challenges include access to clean water, access to proper health care and quality education facilities.
Juma spoke specifically about the efforts of the county in addressing the welfare of citizens, especially women. Kwale experiences an unequal disease burden. Kwale county had a huge disease incidence in relation to cervical cancer and HIV related illnesses, in particular among young women. He added that the reduction of IFFs would avail much needed resources which could address the social and health challenges facing communities in Kwale.
Philip spoke about the enforcement responsibility that the EACC has in reducing IFFs and corruption. There are several concluded cases involving use of complex corporate structures to steal public funds. The commission has, over the last 15 years, recovered more than KES 12 Billion ($100 Million) in assets derived from corruption both locally and internationally. Often the conversation amongst policy makers has been the division of revenue whereas there is little discussion on revenue raising measures such as the reduction of corruption and curbing illicit financial flows. He remarked that IFFs were draining the coast region as well as the country of much needed resources that could help is fostering development.
During the show we had a listener’s feedback session. The studio received 386 text messages over the period and was able to receive calls from 15 listeners. A profile of the text messages showed the show had listeners from Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi and Taita Taveta. Most texts also requested for more information on the topics and cases that the guests were discussing. Listeners also asked for office contacts and directions.
GFI was asked what efforts it had in place to improve knowledge on IFFs among CSOs and CBOs within the coast region. We clarified that GFI was working with CSOs at the national level and was also planning for more engagements with CSOs and the radio show was one such opportunity.
This show was the first in a series of three that will cover illicit financial flows, Beneficial ownership and related topics.