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Wako takes up graft case against Okemo, Gichuru

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 23 – Attorney General Amos Wako on Monday instructed the Chief Public Prosecutor, Keriako Tobiko, to confirm the merit of a case involving Nambale MP Chris Okemo and former KPLC Managing Director Samuel Gichuru before Kenya considers extraditing them to the UK to face corruption charges.

The two are wanted in Britain for corruption and money laundering charges that were preferred against them by the Chief Justice of the Island of Jersey where it is alleged that the two have been stashing their ill-gotten money.

Mr Wako who spoke after a meeting with the British minister for Africa Henry Bellingham argued that he would only give the authority to extradite them, if the prosecutor found them answerable to the cases preferred against them.

"I am handing over the request to Mr Keriako Tobiko, the Chief Public Prosecutor, to confirm if a prima facie case exists against both men. If it does exist, I will give authority for the request to proceed so that formal extradition proceedings can be commenced in court," he said.

He added that Kenya had made several requests to Britain among them the extradition of Yagnesh Devani, who is wanted over the Triton oil scandal, as well as Bishop Gilbert Deya, who is wanted in the country on various allegations of child thefts.

Mr Wako noted that Britain had already issued a warrant of arrest for Mr Devani, although it was not clear when it was served.

"I am pleased to inform you that the court in the United Kingdom has issued a warrant of arrest for Devani but as far as Deya is concerned, there are still one or two things to be done before they issue the warrant," he said. 

Asked why Kenya failed to follow the same proceedings over the extradition of several Kenyans to Uganda over allegations of terrorism, the AG claimed that he had not received their warrants of arrest from the Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere.

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"Ask the Commissioner of Police because he has not issued me with any documentation. If I had I would have followed the proper proceedings," he said.

Meanwhile Mr Bellingham noted that the Jersey officials would have to prove their allegations in order for Kenya to extradite the two given the stance that the country had taken. He also reiterated his government\’s calls to Kenya to tackle impunity and promote accountability.

"The Jersey authorities have to make a case in the courts here and they have to show that it was what we call a prima facie which means there has to be proper evidence before any extradition can take place," he explained.

Mr Iteere had earlier indicated that he would only order for the arrests of Mr Okemo and Mr Gichuru once he got the nod from the AG noting that he had already received the same request from the Interpol.

"I can confirm here that as the Kenya police we have received that request but we cannot proceed to arrest the two individuals until the matter is cleared by the Attorney General," he said at a police reforms function held at the Kenya Institute of Education in Nairobi.

Last Friday, Interpol issued an international arrest alert against Mr Okemo who served as Energy Minister between 1999 and 2001 before being moved to the Finance docket where he served between 2001 and 2003. The same was also issued on Mr Gichuru who served as the Managing Director for the Kenya Power and Lighting Company between 1983 and 2003.

They are wanted by the UK over crimes committed more than 10 years ago and are accused of abusing their offices by using proxy companies to squander public funds in addition to receiving 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.

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