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Kenya in talks with UAE on Mutual Legal Assistance

Kenya is seeking to negotiate and execute Treaties on Mutual Legal Assistance, Transfer of Prisoners and Extradition while enhancing cooperation on exchange of information and repatriation of assets.

ABU DHABI, UAE, Dec 21 – The Governments of Kenya and the United Arab Emirates are set to enter into various legal agreements that will strengthen the criminal justice systems between the two countries.

Kenya is seeking to negotiate and execute Treaties on Mutual Legal Assistance, Transfer of Prisoners and Extradition while enhancing cooperation on exchange of information and repatriation of assets.

This has been necessitated by an escalation in transnational organized crimes involving criminals operating in more complex manners and in multiple countries leading to the establishment of legal cooperation in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of transnational crimes between the two countries.

Kenya and The UAE are signatories to United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNOTC), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), and are required to offer international cooperation in sharing data and intelligence on combating human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, tax evasion, drug trafficking, terrorism, migrant smuggling and other forms of transnational organized crimes.
Speaking during the opening session of the first round of deliberations between the two governments, Kenya’s Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto called for the strengthening and enhancing of the Kenya/ UAE relationship so that they could execute bilateral agreements in Mutual Legal Assistance, Extradition, Transfer of sentenced persons and repatriation of assets in the future.

The Solicitor General is leading the Kenyan delegation visiting the United Arab Emirates comprising of representatives from The Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission and the Asset Recovery Agency.

Judge Abdul Rahman Murad Al Blooshi, Director of International Cooperation in the Ministry of Justice is leading the Emirati delegation at the talks.

The Office of the Attorney General is the Central Authority for Mutual legal assistance in Kenya whose functions are to receive, accede and ensure the execution of Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) requests as established under Section 5 of the Mutual Legal Assistance Act.

Mutual legal assistance is used by law enforcement agencies in the conduct of investigations, prosecutions, judicial proceedings, consultations and service of overseas processes.

It also used in conducting investigative interviews in criminal investigations as well as facilitate the freezing and confiscating property acquired from proceeds of crime and obtaining evidence to be used in civil asset recovery investigations and proceedings.

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To date, Kenya has entered into bilateral agreements on Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance with the Peoples’ Republic of China, Italy, Rwanda, and the Federal Council of Switzerland.

Kenya also has agreements such as the Framework for the Return of Assets from Crime and Corruption in Kenya (FRACCK) signed amongst United Kingdom, Jersey, Switzerland and Kenya. The United Arab Emirates has presently signed close to 52 MLA Treaties with different countries.

Ogeto confirmed that the import of the various engagements Kenya was entering into with various states was a confirmation that beneficiaries of criminal activities in Kenya would have fewer places to hide their loot as the government continues to address the concerns of corruption and transnational crimes.

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