Attorney-General, DPP tussle over powers to extradite Kenyans facing charges abroad

Attorney-General, DPP tussle over powers to extradite Kenyans facing charges abroad

Attorney-General Paul Kihara Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has maintained that the powers to initiate extradition proceedings are vested in his office and not at the Attorney General’s office.

Making submissions before the Supreme Court, the DPP through Victor Mule said extradition proceedings are criminal in nature and therefore fall under the mandate of the DPP. He was making his submissions before a bench led by Chief Justice Martha Koome.

The senior assistant DPP faulted a decision delivered by three judges of the Court of Appeal in 2018, saying it has serious ramifications on the administration of justice in Kenya.

In the decision, the Appellate court quashed extradition proceedings against former Minister Chris Okemo and former Kenya Power and Lighting managing director Samuel Gichuru, saying the DPP has no powers to institute the case.

They are of accepting bribes from foreign businesses that were contracted by KPLC and hid the money in Jersey. It is alleged that they made the foreign contractors deposit payments into the bank accounts of a Jersey company known as Windward Trading limited.

It was further alleged that Mr Gichuru was the beneficial owner of the Jersey company which he controlled by using agents and money thereafter distributed as per his instructions.

Mr Okemo was charged in the Royal Court of Jersey with thirteen counts relating to the transactions in the accounts committed in the Island of Jersey July 1, 1999 and 2001. On the other hand, Gichuru is charged faced 40 counts for offences allegedly committed under Jersey law between 1991 and June 28, 2002.

Justices Erastus Githinji, Hannah Okwengu and Jamila Mohammed said that it is the Attorney General and not the DPP who has the powers to institute such proceedings.

“It would be anomalous and quite inconsistent with international law relating to extradition for the Director of Public Prosecution who is not a member of the National Executive nor a political appointee, a professional who is independent of the executive in his decision and who enjoys security of tenure to conduct part of Kenya’s foreign relations involving as it does sovereignty, political, economic and other national interest considerations,” the court says.

According to the Judges, extradition is not part of Kenya’s criminal justice system and the Extradition Act assigns responsibility to the AG to decide whether a warrant should be issued.

They added that it would be quite inconsistent with international law for the DPP who […]

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