KACC TOLD TO WAIT IN GICHURU, OKEMO SUIT
CAROLE MAINA, The Star, 13 August 2011
A bid by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission to demand involvement in a suit in which the Nambale MP Chris Okemo and former Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) boss Samuel Gichuru seek to block their extradition to the UK to face fraud and money laundering charges was postponed.
Lawyers acting for the anti-graft body appeared before the High Court Judge Nicholas Ombija yesterday and sought involvement in the case. They were however asked to return on September 22. Both parties agreed on the date after Lawyer Fred Ngatia acting for Gichuru and Okemo said he wanted to get instruction from his clients.
The lawyer said he also wanted to amend his court papers as some things Okemo and Gichuru are seeking were overtaken by events.
Okemo and Gichuru are wanted in the Island of Jersey to face 53 charges over commissions paid by international and local companies for KPLC business, mostly between 1999 and 2002, totaling 4,459,572 Sterling pounds, 786,853 Danish kronor and 3,207,360 US dollars (Kshs 902 million in total).
Their arrest warrant was issued in April and forwarded to the Kenyan authorities by the Interpol. The Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko later gave authority for the request to go ahead and so filed an application for the extradition process to begin. In its application, KACC says it investigated the matter and as a result it needs to be a party to the suit. Last month Gichuru and Okemo went to the High Court to block their extradition arguing that their case should be heard in Kenya where any alleged crimes were committed, and not in Jersey. They argue that “It would be an abdication of State responsibility for Kenya to surrender its citizens to a foreign country for trial of alleged municipal law offence."
Okemo and Gichuru also claim their rights have been violated because neither the Island of Jersey nor Tobiko have served them with the arrest warrants or extradition request. The duo claim they only learnt of the existence of arrest warrants against them through the media. They also claim there has been inordinate delay because the matters on the charge sheet relate to events between 1998 and 2002.
Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011