NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 26 – Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji is set to make a trip to the Island of Jersey over the fraud and money laundering case against ex-Nambale MP Chris Okemo and former Kenya Power and Lighting Company Chief Executive Samuel Gichuru.
The two are accused of abusing their offices by using proxy companies to squander public funds running into hundreds of millions, according to documents that were sent then to the Kenyan Government by the bailiff and Chief Justice of the Island of Jersey nine years ago.
Okemo served as Energy Minister between 1999 and 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.
Haji’s trip set to be made in two weeks’ time will see him meet his counterparts within the criminal justice system in the Island of Jersey, where among other things they will discuss how to circumvent legal hurdles facing the intended extradition of Okemo and Gichuru in the quest for justice.
“In two weeks I will be going to Jersey to sit down and agree on how best we can think outside the box and circumvent some of these legal roadblocks that we have,” he said.
In a tone that painted a picture of a man who is impatient with the current pace the case is taking, the DPP pointed out that, “the matter of extradition is still at the Supreme Court. We have waited and we are still waiting but we are now in agreement that we cannot wait for the Supreme Court to come and listen to the matter.”
“Especially the ODPP, we have also agreed that we cannot accept the status quo because it is our belief that anything to do with the criminal justice should fall under the ODPP and not the Attorney General’s office.”
The Supreme Court is set to hear and determine whether Okemo and Gichuru should be extradited after the Court of Appeal quashed an earlier ruling granting the government permission.
If they will ever be extradited, they will face fraud and money laundering charges in Jersey, a country that had for long been used as a haven for tax cheats but has since inked an agreement with Kenya to return some Sh380 million in assets.
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.
-Thinking outside the box-
The DPP will be exploring various avenues to see the quest for justice is not defeated.
In what he said will be “thinking outside the box”, the DPP said they may agree to have the Jersey court have its sitting in Kenya.
This means the extradition case, attributed to the derailment of the case will be rendered useless.
But is there legal mechanism supporting such a drastic proposal? Is it likely to face legal challenges, one the DPP is trying to run away from?
It is some of the questions, that takes DPP Haji to Jersey, hoping to get answers.
“We are thinking of innovative ways to prosecute, maybe here in Kenya. We can allow the Jersey court to come to sit here. It is something we are exploring,” he said.
“We will not be defeated. We shall look for every way, to ensure the matter proceed.”
The DPP was speaking during a Kenya Editors Guild press luncheon themed “Media and Corruption: The Public Interest” which was attended by among others the US Ambassador Kyle McCarter.
“The Director (DPP Haji) cannot do it alone, nor can government do it alone. They cannot succeed without you (media). The United States is Kenya’s strongest partner in this fight. But every Kenyan now needs to reject corruption whenever you see it,” the envoy said.
“No longer should corruption rob the good people of Kenya the well-deserved benefits of a robust economy, democracy, and dependable institutions.”