Devani to remain in custody until June 9

June 3, 2011 4:53 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 3 – Runaway billionaire Yagnesh Devani who was arrested in London last week has been remanded again, after he appeared at the Westminster Magistrate\’s court on Thursday.

Mr Devani is now due back before the court on June 9, when he is likely to know when his extradition proceedings to face trial in Kenya over the Sh7.6 billion Triton oil scandal, will begin.

It\’s understood that under UK law, extradition proceedings must take place not more than two months after the initial arrest of a suspect.

Mr Devani\’s lawyers are however expected to challenge the extradition.

The 46-year-old businessman was arrested at an address in Northwood, northwest London last week after the Metropolitan Police acted on a request by the Kenyan government.

Authorities in Kenya and the UK have been at pains to explain if Mr Devani\’s arrest and quest for extradition was part of a deal under which the British want Nambale legislator Chris Okemo and former Kenya Power and Lighting Company Chief Executive Officer Samuel Gichuru also arrested and extradited to face fraud charges in Jersey.

Mr Okemo and Mr Gichuru are wanted in the UK for allegedly laundering nearly Sh1billion acquired through corrupt means when they served at the Energy Ministry and KPLC top portfolios respectively.

British High Commission officials in Kenya last week told Capital News that Mr Devani would only face extradition to Kenya once he undergoes proper court proceedings there as required by the law.

Mr Devani fled the country in 2007 in the wake of mounting pressure by oil companies following Triton Petroleum\’s failure to make deliveries for oil imports estimated to have been worth Sh7.6 billion.

Triton had won the tender to import on behalf of other oil companies. The Triton Oil scandal involved the unauthorised release of oil by the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) without informing financiers.

A Nairobi court issued a warrant for his arrest and Interpol was directed to pursue him.

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