NATIONALNEWS

State hunts for Okemo, Gichuru hidden wealth

Duo wanted in Jersey for fraud charges but won extradition case which government wants to appeal

Former Cabinet Minister Chris Okemo and former Kenya Power and Lighting Company boss Samuel Gichuru could become the first victims of the recently signed agreement between Kenyan and Jersey governments.

By last evening, reports indicated that the government was mulling challenging a Court of Appeal’s injunction to quash extradition proceedings against Okemo and Gichuru to Jersey.

This comes against the backdrop of the government signing a tripartite Framework for the Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime in Kenya (FRACCK) with Switzerland, United Kingdom and Jersey.

Arrest warrant

The agreement is expected to go a long way in developing a mechanism within which proceeds of crime and corruption can be repatriated to Kenya.

A court in the Channel Island issued a warrant for Okemo and Gichuru’s arrest on April 20, 2011 and Kenya’s High Court validated the extradition.

However, they challenged the move in court saying they should be tried locally and the Court of Appeal temporarily stopped their extradition before quashing it all together on March 2.

“The agreement gives our investigative and prosecutorial bodies new instruments in fight and lends that fight new impetus…we look forward, I think it is fair to say, to returning hard-earned Kenyan wealth to Kenya where it can be put to work for the good of the country to which it belongs,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said during the bilateral meeting with his Swiss counterpart Alain Berset on Monday.

He added that asset recovery deters corruption and sends the unequivocal message that corruption does not pay but it is no easy task.

In February 2016, Gichuru and Okemo lost the money they reportedly had stashed on Jersey Island after authorities there confiscated it.

Deciding on a case launched by the island’s attorney-general, the Royal Court of Jersey ordered seizure of at least Sh520 million in the offshore account belonging to.

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