Jersey, Kenya sign pact to return stolen assets in Okemo, Gichuru saga

March 7, 2017 4:49 pm
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According to the statement, the assets were recovered by the Royal Court of Jersey after Windward Trading Limited Company which was at the centre of the scandal pleaded guilty to four counts of money laundering/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 7 – The Government of Jersey and Kenya have signed an agreement for the return of more than Sh380 million in assets recovered from former Cabinet Minister Chris Okemo and ex-Kenya Power and Lighting Company boss Samuel Gichuru.

According to a statement released by the British High Commission in Nairobi and the Government of Jersey on Tuesday, the agreement was signed last Friday with Kenya’s Treasury Principal Secretary Dr Kamau Thugge appending his signature on behalf of Kenya and Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst representing Jersey.

According to the statement, the assets were recovered by the Royal Court of Jersey after Windward Trading Limited Company which was at the centre of the scandal pleaded guilty to four counts of money laundering.

“The agreement is the latest step taken by both governments to secure the return of the funds, which were confiscated by the Royal Court of Jersey in February 2016, after defendant company Windward Trading Limited pleaded guilty to four counts of laundering the proceeds of corruption,” the statement read.

Dr Thugge said the cooperation between Kenya and Jersey was a positive gesture towards recovering money stolen in Kenya and hidden in the foreign accounts in Jersey.

“We are delighted to reach agreement with the Government of Jersey on this important matter. We welcome the positive cooperation between Kenya and Jersey and look forward to an enhanced partnership in future,” the PS stated.

According to Gorst, the agreement between the two countries was a demonstration that through cooperation and commitment it was possible to help Kenya recover the stolen funds and return them to Kenya.

“The signing of this agreement conveys a powerful message that both Jersey and Kenya are committed to combating issues of historic corruption and financial crime. The process is one that has understandably taken some time because of the legal complexities of confiscation and asset sharing. The completion of this agreement is a step towards ensuring these funds are returned to the people of Kenya, where they rightfully belong,” he stated.

Jersey has sought the extradition of Okemo and Gichuru to answer to money laundering charges.

They 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 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 from 1999 to 2001 before he was moved to the Finance docket where he served between 2001 and 2003 while Gichuru served as the Managing Director of KPLC between 1983 and 2003.

Windward Trading Limited admitted that it credited hundreds of millions of shillings to its bank accounts in 1999 with the full knowledge that the funds were proceeds of corruption.

The extradition case against Okemo and Gichuru will be heard in the Appeals Court of Kenya on March 20.

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