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UK piles pressure for Gichuru, Okemo extradition

Tuesday July 5 2011

Nambale MP Chris Okemo (left) and former Kenya Power and Lighting boss Samuel Gichuru are wanted in Jersey where the authorities accuse them of money laundering and corruption. Photos/FILE

Nambale MP Chris Okemo (left) and former Kenya Power and Lighting boss Samuel Gichuru are wanted in Jersey where the authorities accuse them of money laundering and corruption. Photos/FILE 

By CAROLINE WAFULA

Britain has called for speedy conclusion of cases seeking the extradition of two prominent Kenyans.

The legal authorities in Jersey were confident that the extradition of Nambale MP Chris Okemo and former parastatal chief Samuel Gichuru was valid and that crimes were committed, British High Commissioner Rob Macaire said on Tuesday.

“If there are any arguments about legality of it, the right place to get them is from the court in Jersey. But they feel that there is a strong case against the two,” he said after meeting Attorney General Amos Wako at Sheria House.

Mr Macaire said his government was keen to have the two high ranking figures in the Moi regime handed over to face trial in Jersey.

Mr Okemo, a former minister of Finance and Mr Gichuru, the former Kenya Power and Lighting Company boss are alleged to have received kickbacks from companies active in the energy sector during the Moi regime. Mr Okemo also served as Energy minister in the Moi regime.

The envoy also informed the AG about the latest batch of information posted to Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission on Anglo Leasing cases.

He said it was the UK’s hope that prosecutions would take place expeditiously in both cases. “My government is very keen in both these cases to see action.”

The envoy said the Anglo Leasing scam remained an enormous fraud perpetrated on the Kenyan public and hurt the reputation of the Kenyan Government and other countries.

Mr Macaire told Mr Wako the UK felt Kenya had taken too long to prosecute the Anglo Leasing cases.

“For us in the UK and for other jurisdictions, we think this has gone on too long and we think that there should be enough evidence to see prosecutions,” he said.

Mr Wako said he would do everything in the few days before he leaves office to see the cases handled accordingly.

On the extradition cases, the envoy said the UK was eagerly following the case.

“The Jersey authorities are extremely serious about getting the extraditions. This is not a small issue for them, this is a vital reputation for Jersey,” Mr Macaire said in an interview after the meeting.

He said the audio evidence and legal arguments that have been put forward by the Jersey authorities to the public domain establish clearly that the facts about crimes committed and the facts about the requested extradition was an open and shut case.

The AG did not give any timelines but said that Kenyan authorities were taking the matter seriously.