NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 26 – The Director of Public Prosecutions has opposed an application by former Energy Minister Chris Okemo to have his appeal against extradition heard separately from that of his co-accused and former Kenya Power and Lighting Company Managing Director Samuel Gichuru.
Through lawyer Fred Ngatia, Okemo argued before the Court of Appeal that the charges the two are facing are distinct and their appeals should therefore be heard as such.
“Okemo has never been an employee of KPLC where Gichuru served as the Managing Director,” he said.
Gichuru on the other hand wants Justice Martha Koome to recuse herself from the three judge bench hearing the matter on the grounds that she could be prejudiced against him.
He presented as proof of his apprehension a decision in which she dissented to the quashing of a Ministerial Committee report on financial and procurement processes at KPLC in which he was adversely mentioned.
The proceedings were adjourned on Monday to allow for the filing of submissions.
In January, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions undertook not to push for the extradition of the former Minister and Gichuru before the appeal they have filed is heard and determined.
Ngatia had sought stay orders in response to High Court judge Isaac Lenaola’s dismissal of a petition they had before him, challenging the legality of their extradition.
Justice Lenaola dismissed the petition in December on the grounds that there were no constitutional matters for the court to determine and that the question of their extradition was the preserve of the criminal court.
READ: Okemo, Gichuru lose bid to block extradition proceedings
Following the decision, Ngatia told Appeal Court Justices Alnashir Visram, GBM Kariuki and Sankale Ole Kantai that his clients would be prejudiced should they fail to issue orders stopping the extradition proceedings from moving forward.
A court on the Island of Jersey has sought the extradition of the two to answer to money laundering charges.
Okemo and 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.
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.
Okemo served as Energy Minister between 1999 to 2001 before he was moved to the Finance docket where he served between 2001 and 2003.
Gichuru served as the Managing Director of KPLC between 1983 and 2003.