Despite the efforts of the #Kenyan regulators, some toxic products have been allowed into the market under the banner of Islamic finance. The lack of clarity among regulators has allowed unscrupulous managers to mask certain offerings as Islamic, which has tainted the sub-sector’s reputation in recent months. Chase Bank was placed under receivership in April after special purpose investment vehicles it had classified as Islamic products were contested. Juma Makomba, the Sharia compliance manager at Takaful Insurance of Africa, said Chase Bank was not brought down by Islamic banking products because the facility would have qualified as a Qard-Hassan. He added that Qard-Hassan is given to somebody who is in distress, but the product they were calling a Qard-Hassan was in fact Musharakah.
A report in one of the dailies suggesting that Islamic banking contributed to the collapse of Chase Bank is based on unfounded information. The facts as emphasised by Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge are clear; that the underlying reason for the closure of the bank was under-reported insider lending by the directors and irresponsible use of social media, which accelerated the massive liquidity problems. Chase Bank is not the first bank to collapse and several others, which had no dealing with Islamic banking, have gone under. It is therefore insensitive to blame the collapse of Chase Bank on the Islamic banking system, which has proved to be an alternative and viable finance system.
Genghis Capital, the investment arm of Chase Bank is planning to launch a Shariah-compliant unit trust called the Iman Fund in Kenya next month. The Fund is aimed at Muslim investors with an entry level for investments of minimum 500 Kenyan Shillings ($5.78).