Seth Onyango @SethManex
Kenya and Jersey have established a framework to repatriate billions of assets acquired illegally and stashed in the island nation — a crown dependency of the United Kingdom.
Attorney General Kihara Kariuki and Jersey’s External Relations minister Ian Gorst signed the deal, which ensures proceeds of graft originating from Kenya are ploughed back to the economy.
Gorst exuded confidence the Framework for the Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime to Kenya (FRACCK) will also stem illicit financial flows from Kenya.
“This agreement represents a significant achievement that will assist in confiscating and return of stolen assets to Kenya. It is hoped that this example of cooperation between Kenya alongside its partners Switzerland, the UK and Jersey will act as a template for broader international community,” he said.
A spokesperson from the British High Commission told People Daily that the framework will ensure that, “in future, any proceeds of corruption in Kenya which end up in Jersey, are given back to the Kenyan people in a transparent and accountable way.”
In March last year, Jersey and Kenya signed an agreement for the return of more Sh380 million in assets recovered from former Cabinet minister Chris Okemo and ex-Kenya Power boss Samuel Gichuru.
The assets were recovered by the Royal Court of Jersey after Windward Trading Limited Company, which was at the centre of the scandal, pleaded guilty to four counts of money laundering.
“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, after defendant company Windward Trading Limited pleaded guilty to four counts of laundering the proceeds of corruption,” read statement from the British High Commission in Kenya in part.
Kariuki said the government will use the recovered funds to steer the economy. “The recovered assets will be used to undertake identified development programmes which will be agreed upon by a steering committee comprising representatives from the participating countries,” he said.
In August, Kenya signed an agreements with Britain top being the repatriation of stolen assets stashed in the United Kingdom and better economic cooperation between the two nations.
It followed bilateral talks between President Uhuru Kenyatta and British premier Theresa May who was on a charm offensive in Africa to deepen UK’s global partnerships after Brexit.