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Kenya to receive millions recovered from corrupt officials

Over sh60 million seized from two Kenyan suspects

Samuel Gichuru (L) and Chris Okemo (R) pictured in court in 2016 at a hearing on their extradition case

Kenya and the UK governments have signed an agreement today, Monday March 28 to send millions of dollars of stolen funds recovered by Jersey authorities back to Kenya, where it will be spent on purchasing Covid-19 equipment.

The deal with Jersey, a self-governing island in the English Channel, has been hailed as "a victory for the people of Kenya" by officials.

The agreement is the latest step taken by both governments to secure the return of the funds which were confiscated by the Royal Court of Jersey in February 2016.

The money – stolen by the former Kenya Power managing director Samuel Gichuru and ex-Energy minister Chris Okemo – was retrieved through operations led by UK law enforcement agencies.

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The corrupt activities took place in Kenya and in May 2011, the United Kingdom issued a warrant of arrest against Gichuru and former Nambale MP Okemo over alleged corruption and money laundering.

The Royal Court of Jersey in 2017 made a confiscation order to seize $540,330.69 (Sh61 million) held in the offshore account of Windward Trading Limited – the entity Gichuru used to receive kickbacks in exchange for the award of lucrative tenders to foreign firms.

Extradition process

Last year, the two culprits lost a bid to block their extradition to Jersey Island to face justice. Supreme Court judges overturned the judgement of the Court of Appeal which stopped the extradition proceedings before the Chief Magistrate’s court.

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The judges, Chief Justice Martha Koome, Mohammed Ibrahim, Njoki Ndungu and William Ouko and Smoking Wanjala say the Director of Public Prosecutions rightly commenced the extradition proceedings before the Magistrate’s court.

They disallowed the judgment of the Court of Appeal which held that its the Attorney General who ought to have commenced the extradition proceedings.

They said the extradition proceedings are criminal in nature which ought to start with a criminal investigation and not through the AG.

With the funds now on their way from Jersey to Kenya, the focus turns to the possible extradition from Kenya to Jersey of the two accused men.

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