Gichuru, Okemo extradition bid gathers pace

June 10, 2011 6:32 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 10 – The Chief Public Prosecutor Keriako Tobiko has constituted a team to scrutinise voluminous documents that relate to extradition request for Nambale MP Chris Okemo and former Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) Managing Director Samuel Gichuru to face graft charges in the Island of Jersey.

Mr Tobiko appointed the team after Attorney General Amos Wako forwarded the 13 volumes of documents that support the extradition request by the Attorney General of Jersey.

"I have received documents from the Attorney General concerning the case. I have now appointed a team to scrutinise the documents and come up with recommendations," Mr Tobiko said.

The AG had earlier, through a press statement, confirmed the request by Her Majesty\’s Attorney General for Jersey.

"Due to the complexity, magnitude and voluminous nature of the request, I have directed the Chief Public Prosecutor Keriako Tobiko to immediately constitute a high level team if he has not done so already to study and analyse the supporting documentation and deal with the matter soonest," Mr Wako said in his statement.

On Monday, the High Court declined to block the extradition process after Mr Gichuru and Mr Okemo moved to the court to challenge their removal from Kenya.

High Court Judge Nicolas Ombija sided with the Attorney General who argued that the two had jumped the gun when they rushed to court before the process of extradition was started.

"At the moment, it would be speculative to issue such orders because no extradition proceedings have been filed by the Attorney General in any court of law," Justice Ombija ruled.

"The petitioners have not been arrested and no constitutional rights have been violated."

Justice Ombija said that the law of extradition proceedings should be followed and said it ought to take the normal course. He however advised Mr Okemo and Mr Gichuru that they were at liberty to re-activate their application in case the Attorney General files the proceedings.

The court ruled that the matter be mentioned on June 27.

Mr Okemo, a one-time Cabinet Minister, 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 allegedly 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.

Their intended extradition to the UK coincided with the arrest and planned extradition to Kenya of billionaire businessman Yagnesh Devani who is wanted by authorities in Nairobi to face charges related to fraud amounting to Sh7.6 billion for fuel deliveries that were released without payment.

Mr Devani was bonded by a London court on Thursday and is required to report every day to the Metropolitan Police as he awaits his extradition hearing.

Under UK laws, such proceedings must be held not more than two months after the initial arrest of a suspect.

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