The Star (Nairobi)

6 November 2013

Somalia: Dahabshiil Receives Reprieve Against Barclays

A LONDON court has granted an interim injunction to uphold Somali money transfer service Dahabshiil banking arrangements with Barclays.

This means Somalis and other Africans who use the service to send money home can continue to use it for the time being.

Barclays wanted to terminate its dealing with the money transfer service over fears it was used in money laundering.

But Dahabhiil argued that it would be unfair to end the service used by millions of Somalis to take care of the relatives back home.

"The core of Dahabshiil's case is that a dominant firm should not be allowed to push its customers out of the market or treat them differently without objective justification," a statement from Dahabshiil said.

"It is a victory for the millions of Somalis and other Africans many of whose livelihoods depend on our services," the statement added.

Somalia is a country without a functioning banking system. Its citizens therefore rely on organisations such as Dahabshiil to receive remittances from family overseas.

Barclays Bank has provided banking services to Dahabshiil for over fifteen years but announced on May 8 that it would terminate banking service to Dahabshiil on July 10 a deadline which was later extended to October.

Dahabshiil runs branches in 144 countries worldwide. Barclays is the last major UK bank that still provides money transfer services to Somalia.

Barclays argued that some money service businesses "don't have the necessary checks in place to spot criminal activity with the degree of confidence required by the regulatory environment under which Barclays operates".

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