As published on jerseyeveningpost.com, Tuesday 29 March, 2022.
Jersey has signed an agreement enabling £3 million laundered in the Island two decades ago to be returned to Kenya, with the country due to use the money to support its Covid-19 response.
The repatriation of the funds was agreed after the Royal Court convicted locally registered Windward Trading Ltd in 2016 of holding money derived from bribes which was received between 1999 and 2001.
At that time the firm was controlled by Samuel Gichuru, the former chief executive of the Kenya Power and Lighting utility company, who, it emerged last year, will be extradited to the Island alongside former Kenyan finance minister Chrysanthus Okemo.
Jersey’s Attorney-General, Mark Temple has now signed an asset recovery agreement with the Kenyan government in London to move the funds back to the African country.
He said: ‘The signing of this agreement today shows that Jersey does not tolerate financial crime and that our officers will confiscate monies associated with corruption and ensure that such funds are returned for the benefit of the people who have suffered from the effects of corruption.
‘We have already prosecuted the Jersey company involved for money-laundering offences, and continue to support the ongoing extradition proceedings by the prosecuting authority in Kenya to bring the individuals responsible to justice.’
External Relations Minister Ian Gorst said that the move was the ‘culmination of years of hard work’.
He added: ‘Reaching agreement on the return of these funds in a transparent and accountable manner is fully aligned with the principles of the Framework for the Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime in Kenya [a joint initiative between the African country, the UK, Switzerland and Jersey].
‘This puts Jersey at the forefront of emerging international best practice in the field of asset recovery and will ensure that the peoples of Jersey, the UK, Switzerland and – most importantly – the people of Kenya can have full confidence that these funds will be returned in plain sight and for the benefit of the people of Kenya as they continue to deal with the effects of the pandemic.’
The illicit funds – £3,281,897 and $540,330 in total – were confiscated following the Royal Court’s decision six years ago.
Following that, the Framework for the Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime in Kenya was approved in 2018 to enable the return of the money.
The FRACCK committee agreed in July 2020 that £3m should be channelled into projects to help Kenya’s Covid-19 response, with 90% to be allocated towards procuring essential medical equipment and the remaining 10% to support a community-based project to strengthen healthcare worker capacity and home-based care.