Sunday, June 16, 2024

Gichuru, Okemo released on Shs. IM bail

Nambale MP Chris Okemo and former Kenya Power and Lighting Company Managing Director Samuel Gichuru Monday morning presented themselves in a Nairobi court and were released on a 1 million shillings cash bail each.

The two were also ordered to surrender their passports. Senior Principal Magistrate Grace Macharia set August 4th as the date when the extradition case will commence.

Last week on Tuesday Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Keriako Tobiko filed the extradition application before principal magistrate Grace Macharia seeking a warrant of arrest for the two, and stated that the government has no objection to the request for surrender of Okemo and Gichuru by a Jersey court.

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Tobiko, through state counsel Edwin Okello, Victor Mulei and Mungai Warui submitted that the court should issue a warrant for the arrest and detention of Okemo and Gichuru in accordance with the Commonwealth Extradition Act.

However the warrant of arrest was not issued after the two appeared in court Monday morning. Through lawyer Fred Ngatia the court heard that the two will be objecting to the planned extradition.

State Counsel Warui Mungai told the court that the DPP received 13 bundles of documents from authorities in Jersey and was satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to sustain criminal charges against the two.

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The DPP believes there is satisfactory evidence to sustain criminal charges against the two.

The two are accused by the Island of Jersey in the United Kingdom of abusing their offices by using proxy companies to misuse public funds when they served as Finance minister and KPLC MD respectively in early 1990’s.

Last week, in a letter to the chief Magistrate at Milimani law courts the chief Public prosecutor Keriako Tobiko instructed the court to issue warrants of arrest and subsequent extradition of the two stating he had no objection to a request by the UK on behalf of Jersey.

In the letter Tobiko stated "I authorize that you proceed and issue a warrant of arrest and detention of the said fugitives in accordance with section 7(1) of the Extradition act, chapter 77 laws of Kenya read together with section 7 of the sixth schedule in the new constitution"

This came just a day after British High commissioner Rob Macaire impressed on Attorney General Amos Wako to expedite the extradition proceedings against Okemo and Gichuru saying they have sufficient evidence to nail the duo.

The authorities in Jersey had early last month presented to Wako 13 voluminous reports indicating how Okemo and Gichuru abused their offices by using proxy companies to squander public funds and receive bribes in excess of 900 million shillings.

Okemo and Gichuru had last month lost a bid to oppose the extradition proceedings when the court ruled that their case was premature.

Jersey authorities say the pair received up to Sh900 million in bribes from companies interested in contracts in the energy industry.

The money was paid into accounts held by a firm known as Windward Trading Ltd. British detectives say Mr Gichuru owns the firm while Mr Okemo, they say, worked with Mr Gichuru on the fraud while he served in the ministries of Energy and Finance.

The offence with which they could be charged in Jersey carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail.

Interpol issued a red notice against Okemo and Gichuru after a warrant by the Bailiff and Chief Justice of the island of Jersey, United Kingdom in April 2011.

The Nambale MP had earlier said he wanted to be spared money laundering charges in Jersey on the grounds that the offence was not a crime in Kenya when it was allegedly committed.

Okemo said in the court papers: "Prior to the enactment of the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2009, it was not an offence in Kenya, hence the charges do not satisfy the dual criminality principle."

The MP also wants the court to rule that allegations of misconduct in public office made by the Jersey authorities should not be tried there.

The MP faces 15 counts of money laundering and misconduct in public office reportedly committed between February 1, 1998 and June 28, 2002, which he denies.



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