Africa

Kenya refuses to send corruption suspects to Jersey

  • 20 May 2011
  • From the section Africa

The Kenyan government is refusing to extradite two of its citizens accused of stealing millions of pounds in the island of Jersey.

Samuel Gichuru, former head of Kenya's power company, and former Energy Minister Chris Okemo are accused of taking kickbacks from multinationals.

The Jersey authorities have issued arrest warrants.

The Kenyan newspaper, the Star, broke the news and has called on the government to hand over the two men.

The Jersey Law Officers' Department has accused Mr Gichuru and Mr Okemo, now an MP in Kenya, of 53 economic crimes.

One concerns a deal with a Finnish firm to construct a power station 10 years ago near Mombasa, Kenya's second largest city.

At the time Mr Gichuru was the head of the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC).

He is accused of working with Mr Okemo to bank more than £3m ($5m) from the deal.

The two are accused of taking millions more in kickbacks from British, Norwegian and German engineering firms, as well as a US communications giant.

But the Kenyan government has told the BBC it will not hand the men over for now.

The director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, PLO Lumumba, says other politicians are also implicated in the deals.

Corruption should be declared a national disaster in Kenya, Mr Lumumba added.

This is not the first time Mr Gichuru has been in the anti-corruption spotlight.

In 2003, a leaked report of an investigation by the Kenyan government said he had plundered the state-owned electricity corporation for several years - an allegation his lawyer denied.

That report, like several other anti-corruption investigations, was shelved.

A spokesman for the Jersey Law Officers' Department said: "We would not confirm or deny the existence of warrants issued for the arrest of suspects unless it was a matter of public record. We are not able to comment further."

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