Kenyans rush to swap banknotes as cash ban looms
There is a rush in Kenya to offload old banknotes that within days would be worthless as the deadline looms before the Central Bank of Kenya bans all old edition 1,000-shilling notes.
A new print of the 1,000-shilling banknote, the largest denomination, was rolled out in June, with Kenyans given to September 30 to exchange their old bills at the bank or be stuck with bundles of useless cash.
The operation is aimed at flushing out dirty money being hoarded by tax evaders, crooked businessmen and criminal groups. Many business establishments across the country, including wholesalers and retailers, have also printed notices giving their customers ultimatums.
Leading supermarkets started rejecting the banknotes as early as September 20, with more giving deadlines.
Large deposits of the old notes, embossed with the image of Kenya’s founding father Jomo Kenyatta, raise alarm bells at banks and require paperwork to prove their origin.
The central bank in June said there were roughly 218 million 1,000-shilling notes in circulation but declined to say what proportion was being stashed as black money.