Jersey minister due to give Kenya £3 million of confiscated assets

EXTERNAL Relations Minister Ian Gorst is in Kenya this week where he is due to sign an asset-sharing agreement which would see £3 million confiscated in Jersey returned to the African country.

Nambale MP Chris Okemo and former Kenya Power and Lighting boss Samuel Gichuru are to be extradited to the UK to face money-laundering charges (12720165)
Nambale MP Chris Okemo and former Kenya Power and Lighting boss Samuel Gichuru are to be extradited to the UK to face money-laundering charges (12720165)

The confiscation follows a case in which more than £3.5 million was seized from Jersey-based Windward Trading Ltd, which was historically involved in a major money-laundering operation run from Kenya.

The company pleaded guilty in the Royal Court to four counts of holding funds derived from criminal conduct relating to alleged bribes paid into the company more than 15 years ago.

At the time, the organisation was controlled by Samuel Gichuru, the former chief executive of the Kenya Power and Lighting Company. He is accused of having accepted bribes from foreign businesses which he hid in Jersey using Windward Trading. None of the current directors of the company were accused of any wrongdoing.

Mr Gichuru and the country’s Energy Minister Chrysanthus Okemo continue to face charges of depositing money from bribes in relation to the case.

They have been fighting extradition to Jersey for a number of years and the case remains ongoing.

This week Treasury Minister Susie Pinel signed a ministerial decision giving Senator Gorst a mandate to enter into a formal asset-sharing agreement with Kenya. According to the decision, the previous Treasury Minister gave his consent but it was a different minister and the consent was oral.

The report accompanying the ministerial decision says: ‘The arrangement follows on from the preliminary asset-sharing agreement that was signed with the government of Kenya in 2017 and seeks to return £3 million in confiscated funds to the people of Kenya.

‘Advice from the Attorney General has indicated that in order for the Minister for External Relations to be able to sign this agreement he will require a mandate from the Minister for Treasury and Resources to do so.’

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