President Kenyatta to stay on currency as tender war goes to hearing

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Kenyans will have to wait longer to see the image of President Jomo Kenyatta struck off their money after the High Court extended a freeze order on a new currency printing tender. The country, which is almost two-and-a-half years in breach of the August 2015 deadline to roll out the new currency notes as stipulated in the Constitution, had hoped to get the new currency notes between April and June next year.

At a recent press briefing, Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge said Treasury planned to issue the new currency in the second quarter of 2018. However, activist Okiya Omtatah went to court to stop the tender award to UK-based currency printer, Thomas De La Rue.

“The matter will be heard on January 17 and the conservatory orders granted are extended to that date,” Justice Chacha Mwita said on Wednesday. In a bid to break a five-decade currency printing monopoly, Omtatah wants the firm barred from printing the new notes. The British firm has printed currency in Kenya since independence. It, however, lost the tender between 1966 and 1985 to Bradbury & Wilkinson of the UK, but later got it back.

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