Former Kenya Power CEO Samuel Gichuru and former Cabinet minister Chris Okemo face a jail term of up to 14 years each in the UK after they moved closer to being extradited to the Jersey Island for theft and money laundering charges.
The Supreme Court allowed the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to proceed with the extradition proceedings that stalled at a magistrate court ten years ago following opposition from the Attorney General’s office.
The pair are wanted by the Royal Court of Jersey for accepting bribes from foreign businesses that won tenders at Kenya Power with the proceeds wired to the Island territory.
The extradition process stalled due to legal challenges and a fight between the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and the Attorney General on which State office should institute the action.
The Supreme Court ruled that the mandate to start extradition proceedings falls with the public prosecutor not the Attorney General.
Now, the hurdle has been cleared and the DPP will push for extradition of Mr Okemo and Mr Gichuru to Jersey through the magistrate courts.
“The Attorney General however retains the Executive Authority to receive Requests for Extradition (from the foreign countries) and to transmit the same to the Director of Public Prosecutions for necessary action,” said the Apex court.
The request to extradite Mr Okemo and Mr Gichuru was forwarded to the DPP when it was a department in the AG’s office on June 6, 2011 by the British High Commission.
Before the request, the Jersey court had issued warrants for the arrest of the two on April 8, 2010, and April 20, 2011.
Mr Okemo was the Minister for Energy between 1991 and 2001, while Mr Gichuru was the KPLC Managing Director between 1984 and February 2013.
Mr Okemo was charged in the Royal Court of Jersey with 13 counts relating to the transactions in the accounts on July 1, 1999, and 2001.
On the other hand, Mr Gichuru faced 40 counts for offences allegedly committed under Jersey law between 1991 and June 28, 2002.
Mr Gichuru and Mr Okemo face a jail term of up to 14 years each if they are extradited to Jersey and found guilty of the racketeering charges preferred against them.
“A person who is guilty of an offence under this Article shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years or to a fine, or both,” says sections of the Proceeds of Crime (Jersey) Law.
The duo is wanted to face 53 counts linked to “commissions” paid by companies to win Kenya Power tenders and held in a Jersey account in foreign currencies: £4.45 million; $3.2 million and kr790,000 (totaling Sh1.04 billion at current exchange rates), according to Jersey court papers.
The scheme was executed through Windward Trading Ltd — the entity through which Mr Gichuru reportedly received hefty kickbacks to award suppliers lucrative tenders during his two-decade tenure at the helm of Kenya Power that ended in 2003.