Kenya and Jersey sign agreement for return of stolen assets

By Claire Wanja

The governments of Kenya and Jersey have signed an agreement paving the way for the return of over £3million (Ksh 380 million) of stolen assets to the people of Kenya.

The agreement signed last week on Friday is the latest step taken by both Governments to secure the return of the funds, which were confiscated by the Royal Court of Jersey in February 2016, after defendant company Windward Trading Limited pleaded guilty to four counts of laundering the proceeds of corruption.

The corrupt activities took place in Kenya where Windward’s beneficial owner, Samuel Gichuru, is resident.

During the period on the indictment, Mr. Gichuru was also the Chief Executive of Kenya Power and Lighting Company [KPLC], the Kenyan government’s electricity utility company.

In June 2011, the Attorney General of Jersey requested the extradition of Messrs. Samuel Gichuru and Chrysanthus Okemo, former Kenyan Energy Minister, from Kenya to face money laundering charges in Jersey in connection with Windward’s activities.

The extradition proceedings are still ongoing.

On signing on behalf of the Government of Kenya, Dr. Kamau Thugge, the Principal Secretary for the National Treasury, said:

“We are delighted to reach agreement with the Government of Jersey on this important matter. We welcome the positive cooperation between Kenya and Jersey and look forward to an enhanced partnership in future.”

The Chief Minister of Jersey, Senator Ian Gorst, on behalf of the Government of Jersey, commented:

“The signing of this agreement conveys a powerful message that both Jersey and Kenya are committed to combating issues of historic corruption and financial crime.

The process is one that has understandably taken some time because of the legal complexities of confiscation and asset sharing. The completion of this agreement is a step towards ensuring these funds are returned to the people of Kenya, where they rightfully belong.”