Uhuru, May sign deal to ensure return of corruption proceeds

By Wainaina Wambu | Friday, Aug 31st 2018 at 00:05
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President Uhuru Kenyatta and UK Prime Minister Theresa May witness the signing of agreements at State House, Nairobi.

Kenya and Britain have inked a deal that will see corruption proceeds, including Sh470 million seized by UK courts, returned.

During a joint press conference yesterday with the British Prime Minister Theresa May at State House, Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the United Kingdom was “fully on board”.

May’s three-day trade tour of Africa took her to South Africa, Nigeria and finally Kenya.

She arrived in Nairobi at about 3.30am yesterday and was received by top Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, including Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.

She later held a meeting with Uhuru at State House, at 11am, where the agreement was signed.

The agreement to return the assets and proceeds of crime comes a month after Kenya signed a similar deal with Switzerland, targeting an estimated Sh72 billion hidden in Swiss accounts.

President Kenyatta could not disclose a figure of the entire loot to be recovered, but said that the Attorney General would soon be able to reveal an amount.

The Sh470 million was hidden in Jersey Islands, a renowned tax haven that is under UK’s jurisdiction.

Last year, Kenya signed an agreement with the UK to return almost Sh400 million of the money. The President said his legacy was centred on the war against graft, unity and the Big Four agenda. He said the Government would deprive “people of the proceeds of their crime” as one way of fighting the vice.

“We are determined to make it painfully unrewarding and expensive to get involved in corruption in Kenya,” Uhuru said.

Ms May promised support.

“We also spoke about the pernicious effects of corruption in Kenya. And I welcome the commitment you have made to drive this vice from your country, and we stand with you in this fight,” she said.

“And today, as you’ve said, we signed an agreement to ensure that any proceeds of corruption in Kenya that end up in the UK will be given back to the Kenyan people and spent for their benefit,” she added.

 In a statement from her office, May said all the monies repatriated would be used “exclusively” for development.

“All stolen funds found and returned to Kenya will be used exclusively for development projects, in sectors including education and health. This includes over £3.5 million (Sh470 million) in proceeds of crime seized by courts in Jersey,” read the statement.

Britain also announced a new package deal that would help developing countries to fight dirty money.

The UK said it helped African authorities “seize, confiscated or preserve” $76 million (Sh7.6 billion) of illegal assets in 2017.

The two leaders also signed a security deal that would see Kenya benefit from equipment and information.

“We have also signed a security compact that has led to increased support from Britain with equipment to enhance border and aviation security capacity building and information sharing between our two countries,” said Uhuru.

May said the UK would continue to support Kenyan troops in Somalia fighting Al Shabaab. She promised to announce a new funding programme aimed at supporting the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).

The leaders also discussed Kenya’s market access to Britain post Brexit - when Britain fully exits the European Union in March 2019.

It was revealed that the current duty free quota for Kenyan export would continue after Brexit. “So as Britain prepares to leave the European Union we are committed to a smooth transition that ensures continuity in our trading relationship with Kenya, ensuring Kenya retains its duty-free, quota-free access to the UK market,” said May.

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