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Apex Court paves way for extradition of Gichuru, Okemo to Jersey to face fraud charges

The Supreme Court has allowed Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji to proceed with the extradition process of graft suspects Samuel Gichuru and Chris Okemo.

The two are wanted in United Kingdom’s Jersey Island to face corruption and money laundering charges.

After several false starts, the Supreme Court said the proceedings before the magistrate court which had been triggered by the DPP in July 2011 are to continue forthwith on a priority basis.

Okemo served in President Daniel Moi’s government as the Minister for Energy between 1999 and 2001 while Gichuru was the managing director of Kenya Power between November 1984 and February 2003.

Okemo and Gichuru are wanted in the United Kingdom’s Jersey Island to face charges of money laundering and misconduct in public office but they have been fighting the move to have them charged and tried in a foreign court since 2011.

Theirs has been a long 10-year battle against the extradition to Jersey Island which started at the magistrate’s court, moved to the High Court, proceeded to the Court of Appeal and now before the Supreme Court.

It is alleged they defrauded millions of shillings from Kenya Power and Lighting Company between 1998 and 2002 and hid proceeds in offshore accounts in the UK.

Following a request by the Jersey Island in April 2011, the Director of Public Prosecution started the extradition proceedings before a magistrate’s court but the two moved to the High Court to quash the case arguing it was unlawful and against their rights.

According to Okemo and Gichuru, the money allegedly laundered belonged to Kenya Power and if there was any complaint then it would have been filed before the Kenyan courts which has jurisdiction to prosecute them.

However, the then High Court judge Isaac Lenaola (currently a Supreme Court Judge) dismissed their petition and allowed the proceedings to continue before the magistrate’s court.

Dissatisfied with the decision, Okemo and Gichuru moved to the Court of Appeal where Appellate Judges Erastus Githinji, Hannah Okwengu and Jamila Mohammed stopped their extradition to Jersey Island to face the charges.

The Appellate Judges ruled the DPP’s decision to commence the extradition proceedings against the two was illegal, invalid and against their rights since it is only the Attorney General who had the power to act on a request to extradite a citizen to another country.

The Judges also quashed the extradition proceedings against Okemo and Gichuru ruling that there was insufficient evidence to support claims made by Jersey Island and that if there was any, then they should have been charged in Kenya where the offences are alleged to have happened.

It’s the decision the DPP has appealed at the Supreme Court claiming that it will affect all other extradition proceedings they have filed against people wanted by foreign countries to face criminal charges.

The prosecutors also want the apex court to determine who between the DPP’s and the AG’s office is mandated to commence extradition proceedings.

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