Kenya receives $3.9 million proceeds of graft repatriated from Jersey

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Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday presided over the ceremonial handing over of Kshs 450 million ($3.9 million) repatriated back to Kenya from Jersey, funds that were confiscated following the successful conviction of Windward Trading Limited for money laundering offenses.

The return of the money comes a week after the East African country struck a landmark deal with Jersey, a self-governing island in the English Channel, which was hailed as “a victory for the people of Kenya” by its High Commissioner in the UK, Manoah Esipisu.

The returned money is said to have been part of public funds allegedly stolen by two of Kenya’s richest men.

It first attracted investigators’ attention following a divorce case involving Samuel Gichuru, a former CEO of the Kenya Power and Lighting Company, and his wife Salome Njeri.

A tag of war ensued over the true worth of Gichuru, who was accused by Njeri of hiding some assets from the proceedings.

Njeri went on to produce a list of Jersey accounts she alleged were owned by Gichuru.

The case was the beginning of a nine-year investigation by Jersey authorities across 12 jurisdictions.

Investigators in 2011 accused Gichuru and Kenya’s former Finance Minister Chris Okemo of taking kickbacks from multinationals which were sent to a Jersey-registered company

The Jersey authorities went on to issue arrest warrants for the two men and have been waiting for their extradition from Kenya ever since.

Speaking at the handover ceremony of the returned funds, President Kenyatta called for concerted efforts to scale up the war against graft.

“We must all work together; that is, all arms of Government, the business community, media, religious institutions, non-governmental organizations and the ordinary Kenyans to fight this noble war,” he said.

“We must raise the bar even higher if we are serious about the Sustainable Development Goals and our very own Vision 2030.”

Kenyatta also witnessed the handing over of 39 title deeds for corruptly acquired parcels of land to public entities and county governments worth over Kshs 5 billion (over $43 million).