Gichuru, Okemo face extradition over graft

Former Cabinet Minister Chris Okemo and ex-Kenya Power and Lighting Company boss Samuel Gichuru suffered a major setback after the Supreme Court Friday set aside a decision of the Court of Appeal outlawing their extradition.

They are wanted by the Island of Jersey to face corruption and money laundering charges.

Justice Jackton Ojwang ordered a stay of execution, enforcement or any other steps or actions intended to implement the pronouncement and orders of the Court Appeal pending the hearing and determination of an appeal lodged at the SC by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji.

The DPP says the judgment of the Court of Appeal was wrong and an affront to the administration of justice. The Supreme Court certified the matter as of utmost urgency, adding that will be heard on priority basis.

“The applicant was dissatisfied with the decision and has directed that an appeal be filed,” senior assistant DPP, Victor Mule said in affidavit.

He argued that the judgment may set a precedence with serious ramifications on the administration of justice owing to the extradition proceedings pending in various courts.

Arrest warrants were issued against Okemo, a former Finance minister and Gichuru in April 2011.

Last year, Jersey and Kenya signed an agreement for the return of more than Sh380 million assets allegedly recovered from the duo.

In 2015 High Court in 2015 gave the extradition process the green light following a decision by a magistrate’s court in 2013 that approved their handover to the Jersey authorities.

But Appeal Court judges Erastus Githinji, Hanna Okwengu and Jamila Mohammed set aside the decisions saying extradition is not part of Kenya’s criminal justice system.

The latest move 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 earlier in the week.

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