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DPP Haji accuses Okemo, Gichuru of attempting to block extradition

NATIONAL
By Patrick Vidija and Betty Njeru | November 5th 2021

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji during the launch of the 2021/2026 National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) strategic plan at Serena Hotel in Mombasa. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji has accused former Finance Minister Chris Okemo and former Kenya Power boss Samuel Gichuru of using their positions to influence the outcome of a money laundering case against them.

Haji in a statement said the decision by the Supreme Court allowing him to extradite the two to face charges of money laundering in a UK-based court is a win for the criminal justice system.

“For over 10 years, Chris Okemo and Samuel Gichuru have been able to exploit the opportunities available to them through the Kenyan legal system and due process, to delay the hearing and conclusion of their proceedings,” Haji said.

According to him, upon assuming office in 2018, he reviewed the file and revived the same by injecting new energy into the pursuit of the extradition proceedings against the appellants.

He said he was convinced of the fairness of the cause and as to the validity of its interpretation of the law, to wit, that he was the correct person bestowed with the authority in law to commence and undertake extradition process.

“As a result, the DPP once again revived the matter and filed an Appeal before the Supreme Court of Kenya, against the decision and the Judgement of the Court of Appeal delivered in March 2018 by Okemo and Gichuru who sought to block the process,” Haji noted.

But in the Friday ruling, the Supreme Court stripped the Attorney General of the powers to initiate extradition proceedings against the duo.

The apex court instead granted the authority to Haji to continue with the extradition process against Okemo and Gichuru who are wanted at United Kingdom’s Jersey Island to face charges of money laundering.

Okemo and Gichuru are alleged to have defrauded millions of shillings from Kenya Power and Lighting Company between 1998 and 2002 and hid the proceeds in the UK in offshore accounts.

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

“Today's ruling is therefore a big win for the ODPP and the Mwananchi in the war against transnational and organized crime including but not limited to corruption and money laundering,” Haji said.

He added, “The ODPP remains committed to executing its constitutional mandate in accordance with the rule of law, due regard to public interest, the administration of justice and avoidance of abuse of the legal process.”

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