Interpol seeks Okemo, Gichuru arrests

May 20, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 20 – Interpol has issued an international arrest alert on Nambale MP Chris Okemo and former Kenya Power and Lighting Company chief Samuel Gichuru who are wanted to face corruption and money laundering charges.

The red alert issued on Friday requires that the two officials be "located and arrested with a view to extradition" to the United Kingdom.

Mr Okemo – a former Cabinet Minster – and Mr Gichuru are accused of abusing their offices by using proxy companies to squander public funds over 10 years ago, according to documents sent to the Kenyan government by the bailiff and Chief Justice of the Island of Jersey, Channel Islands, UK.

They are accused of having received bribes amounting to hundreds of millions of shillings from international companies between 1999 and 2002.

The amount received in bribes from the companies is pegged at Sh902 million and was paid through various companies.

Mr Okemo served as Energy Minister between 1999 to 2001 before he was moved to the Finance docket where he served between 2001 and 2003.

Mr Gichuru served as the Managing Director of KPLC between 1983 and 2003.

"This request if to be treated as a formal request for provisional arrest, in conformity with national laws and/or the applicable bilateral and multilateral treaties," a judicial decision sent to Kenya from the UK states in part.

It adds: "Assurances are given that extradition will be sought upon arrest of the person, in conformity with national laws and/or the applicable bilateral and multilateral treaties."

The judicial decision also referred to as an a arrest warrant states that extensive investigations were carried out on corruption and money-laundering related activities by the two persons and a decision reached to have them arrested, extradited and charged in accordance with the UK and Kenyan laws.

"It has been decided that Mr Gichuru be charged with offences contrary to Article 34 of the Proceeds of Crime (Jersey) Law 1999 (POC) by laundering his own proceeds as well as Article 32 of the same law by laundering the funds for Okemo," it states.

As to the Article 34 offence, it states Mr Gichuru will be charged with concealing his proceeds of crime and transferring his proceeds of crime, both of which are made offences by that article."

"The proceeds of crime with respect to these offences are the proceeds of Mr Gichuru\’s corruption, misconduct in public office and fraud," it went and added that "In relation to Article 32 offence, Gichuru will be charged with facilitating Okemo\’s retention of his (Okemo\’s) proceeds of crime."

"The proceeds of crime with respect to the article 32 offence are the proceeds of Mr Okemo\’s corruption, misconduct in public office and fraud."

The judicial decision identified Messers Okemo and Gichuru as "fugitives wanted for prosecution."

The document outlines various alleged corrupt tenders allegedly influenced by the two for their own benefits.

"Most of this money came from parties which can be shown to have contracted with KPLC," part of the documents in our possession state.

The two were not readily available for comment over the allegations levelled against them.

"In one instance, the bribe payer, the contractor of KPLC frankly refers to Mr Gichuru as their agent," it states. "Another company noted in an email that the award of the KPLC contract involved payment to its chief executive Sam Gichuru."

Witness accounts

Witnesses, the court document states, have explained that it was considered that the payments to Mr Gichuru had to be made if they wanted to work for KPLC.

Mr Gichuru is also accused of having used a Gibraltarian company named Arus Management Services to layer payments from a company called Windward.

In particular, the documents state that most of the payments to Mr Okemo by Windward were made via the company\’s bank account in Gibraltar, despite the fact that both Okemo and Windward banked at the same institution in Jersey.

"The result of this routing transfers, for which Arus Management Services took a fee of about 2percent of the transfers, was that the recipients of the money were distanced both from Windward and the contractors that paid windward."

This, the court concludes "is a classic money laundering technique, which provides evidence, for example that payments to Okemo effected in this way represented proceeds of criminal conduct. There is no other reason for his payments to be routed in this fashion, at that expense."

Both Mr Okemo and Mr Gichuru having been public officers at the time, the court decreed "the receipt of these bribes was not only greedy and dishonest, but amounted to criminal offences involving bribes and constituted misconduct in a public office."

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