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Kenya: Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission wants Chris Okemo's appointment revoked

By Cyrus Ombati | March 31st 2015

Kenya: The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission wants the appointment of Chris Okemo to the Board of Kenya Seed Company annulled over integrity issues.

The commission wrote to the suspended Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei opposing the appointment on integrity grounds.

"This is in view of the integrity concerns raised regarding the said individual, which cannot be overlooked. The commission further notes there are pending extradition proceedings in court where the Government of the United Kingdom is seeking the extradition of the said person based on corruption allegations," said a statement from the commission.

"Whereas the commission recognises the right of innocence, however, this appointment negates the requirements of the Executive Order No.6 of March 2015 on Ethics and Integrity in the Public Service, the Code of Governance for State Corporation and all the efforts in place in the fight against corruption and unethical practices."

The civil society has termed as a mockery the appointment contained in a gazette notice dated March 20, 2015.

Okemo is wanted in Jersey, UK, for allegedly defrauding the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), now Kenya Power, Sh900 million and laundering the money in Jersey. Okemo and former KPLC Managing Director Samuel Gichuru have for the last three years contested the Island of Jersey's extradition orders at the High Court. They are wanted for false declarations, fraud and money laundering.

The two individuals were summoned to the Island of Jersey court on April 20, 2011 and subsequently on May 5, 2011 but failed to show up. They are wanted on 53 counts of money laundering and fraud.

The funds were allegedly paid as commissions to Gichuru and Okemo, who were powerful individuals in former President Moi's government.

Okemo was Energy Minister from 1999 to 2001 and Finance Minister from 2001 to 2003, while Gichuru was KPLC MD from 1983 to 2003. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights last week also called on the revocation of the appointment.

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