KACC in pursuit of Okemo, Gichuru

May 24, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 24 – The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission says it will fully cooperate with the United Kingdom which has sought the extradition of Nambale MP Chris Okemo and former Kenya Power and Lighting Company Chief Executive Officer Samuel Gichuru.

The anti-graft body said it has been sharing information with authorities in the Island of Jersey since investigations against the two commenced and would continue doing so until the matter was concluded.

"The commission will continue to share information on this matter to its logical conclusion," KACC\’s Public Relations Officer Nicholas Simani said in a statement.

He said the cooperation was in line with Section 12 (3) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act 2003 (ACECA) which allows the commission to cooperate with any foreign government, regional or international organisation in matters of corruption.

"The commission will also extend similar cooperation to other jurisdictions in accordance with the obligations of international instruments on corruption as a way of combating transnational corruption," he added.

Mr Simani said the commission received a formal request dated May 12, 2011 from the Attorney General of Jersey, Timothy Le Cocq QC, seeking for assistance on the evidence the commission might be having in relation to the two.

"The request is founded on the fact that the predicate offence for which the two are being sought is corruption that took place in Kenya," the KACC statement added.

The Commission is enabled by the provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and in particular Article 43 that require state parties to cooperate in all matters of joint criminal investigations, mutual legal assistance, transfer of criminal proceedings, transfer of sentenced persons and law enforcement.

Kenya was the first country to sign and ratify the Convention in 2003 which is now part of laws of Kenya under Article 2 (6) of the Constitution.

On Monday, Attorney General Amos Wako announced that Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko was analysing the arrest request to determine if extradition proceedings can commence.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo said Kenya would be seen to uphold and respect the laws as well as international treaties, if it handed the two suspects to the authorities in the Island of Jersey.

Mr Okemo 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 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 Mr 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 two percent 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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