ARE you among the people fond of hiding their money in their socks or shoes? Well, you may need to think twice as this innocent safety precaution could land you in jail for three months.
The punishment is even severe if you are caught defacing a coin with the intent of reducing its weight as you could be sent to jail for seven years.
According to the Central Bank of Kenya, bad currency handling such as putting notes in socks or shoes or even close to your heart and in those popular dug out savings spots is punishable as it amounts to the notes' mutilation.
Matatu touts should also pray that they are not caught folding notes between their fingers as this is regarded as bad handling of currency and can lead one to jail.
"Any person who willfully and without authority or excuse defaces, tears, cuts or otherwise mutilates any currency note shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to a fine not exceeding two thousand shillings or both," says CBK in its latest newsletter.
CBK says that folding, crumpling or shoving bank notes into the pocket without care greatly damages them. This shortens the lifespan of the currencies which ends up becoming an expense for the country for their replacement. "Improper handling of currency depreciates the bank notes and coins faster than they ought and a result., the Central Bank will have to replace these currencies with new ones," CBK says.
Liquids, detergents and chemicals are known to have an adverse effect on banknotes when in contact. And even though genuine banknotes in circulation have some security features that distinguishes them from counterfeits, the features are washed away when in contact with some of these liquids which contains detergents.
"Simple checks such as emptying the pockets before a laundering process will ensure that the notes are not subjected to this kind of damage," CBK advises. "We advice the public to invest in wallets, simple as they may be."
CBK advises PSV operators to invest in money pouches "to ensure that the currencies are not only handled well but also for their security."
By Peter Kiragu