6 February 2013

Kenya: Okemo, Gichuru Fail to Stop Extradition Suit

THE extradition case against former Nambale MP Chris Okemo and Kenya Power ex-boss Samuel Gichuru who are wanted in Jersey Island to face money laundering charges will go on.

Magistrate Teresia Murigi ruled that the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko has the power to initiate the proceedings. Tobiko authorised Okemo and Gichuru's extradition following a request by the UK in accordance with the Commonwealth Extradition Act, but the two challenged his power to do so in court.

Murigi said there is no evidence to support their argument that they will not get a fair trial due to the adverse media publicity. She said media publicity does not constitute a violation of a party's right to a fair hearing.

Okemo and Gichuru had also argued that they will not get a fair trial in Jersey because of the time that has passed and the conduct of its court.

They argued that it is unreasonable to be prosecuted for offences committed more than 20 years ago. "It is my considered opinion that inordinate delay can be raided at the trial and as the extradition magistrate my mandate is not to deal with defences that can be raised at the trial. My duty involves hearing evidences to establish whether a prima facie case that warrants extradition has been dealt with," Murigi said.

She added that it will be impulsive to make a finding on whether the 40 counts being faced by the two are overloaded. "It is my finding that since the criminal trial has not started, the trial still has a chance to elect, bring or drop some counts as the case maybe," she said.

Okemo and Gichuru are wanted in the UK after a warrant was issued by the Chief Justice of the Island of Jersey in April 2011 for charges of money laundering and corruption. They are alleged to have benefited from kickbacks during the Moi regime.

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