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Gicheru was cleared by Office of President to travel to The Hague

By Everlyne Kwamboka and Kamau Muthoni | November 6th 2020 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Paul Gicheru at a past event. The Standard has learnt that the lawyer wrote to the Head of Public Service, asking to travel to a destination where he is a hot cake. [File]

The Government knew that lawyer Paul Gicheru was traveling to The Hague.

The Standard can exclusively reveal that Gicheru wrote to Head of Civil Service Joseph Kinyua, asking him for permission to travel to a destination where he is a wanted man.

However, Gicheru did not disclose that he was going to surrender to the ICC.

The lawyer is the chairman of Export Processing Zones Authority and therefore could not travel abroad without seeking direct permission from the Executive Office of the President.

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On September 13, the Government banned international travel for all State officers and required them to seek permission from the Head of State.

"This is to notify you that it has been decided, until further advised otherwise, no government official will travel outside the country without clearance by the President," reads the circular sent to Cabinet Secretaries, the Attorney General and Principal Secretaries.

"For avoidance of doubt, the officials in reference include Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and officers in ministries, Chief Executive Officers of Parastatals and their officers, and Board of Directors of Parastatals.”

At 4.33pm yesterday, Gicheru called his lawyer John Khaminwa from The Hague.

In a conversation that took six minutes, he explained that in his letter he explained that he was going to resolve a personal issue. He got permission and used it to process visas at the Netherlands Embassy for himself and his wife Ruth.

The embassy cleared the way for him to travel to Netherlands where he handed himself to the police on Monday.

The Standard had inquired from the Dutch Embassy on Monday on whether he had presented himself here in Kenya and whether there were extradition proceedings.

The Embassy’s head of trade and development, deputy head of mission Martine van Hoogstraten replied that they were not in a position to reply and instead referred us to the International Criminal Court.

Dr Khaminwa said Gicheru narrated to him that yesterday, he appeared before a Dutch Magistrate's Court for processing so that he will today formally appear before the pre-trial chamber.

He is expected to appear before Pre-Trial Chamber Judge Reine Adelaide Sophie Alaphini-Gansou at 4pm The Hague time.

“Kenyans should stop speculating. I was not arrested in London or anywhere. I voluntarily purchased a ticket for myself and my wife to travel to Amsterdam. I got permission from the Head of Civil Service to travel out of the country and sort out a personal issue,” Khaminwa quoted Gicheru. “If anyone wants to know about me, let him contact you.”

The senior lawyer explained that during their conversation, Gicheru was jovial, cheerful and in good spirit. This is despite the fact that he had opted to dip himself into unknown waters.

Meanwhile, yesterday, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda appealed to the Kenyan Government to surrender the other two suspects – Philip Bett and Walter Barasa – to face trial alongside Gicheru.

Bensouda said collectively, the warrants of arrest against Bett, Gicheru and Barasa underscore her unwavering commitment to using measures available to her under the Rome Statute to safeguard the integrity of the court’s proceedings.

“I call on the Kenyan authorities to fulfill their obligations under the Rome Statute to ensure the surrender of the remaining two suspects to the custody of the Court...,” said Bensouda.


Paul Gicheru ICC Fatou Bensouda Hague
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