Extradition treaties to help Kenya fight graft, says AG
Attorney-General Paul Kihara Kariuki has said that Kenya will now be able to negotiate extradition treaties with other countries after a decision of the Court of Appeal mandating his office to institute proceedings to deport suspects.
The AG further said that extradition of people and repatriation of assets are powerful tools to combat transnational acts of corruption and associated offences.
He said the government is pursuing several bilateral and multilateral agreements with other countries for the expatriation of assets acquired from proceeds of crime and corruption.
Justice (Rtd) Kariuki made the remarks Friday during the Law Society of Kenya annual conference at Leisure Lodge Beach Resort in Diani, South Coast.
“Following the enactment of the Mutual Legal Assistance Act, the government has been able to co-operate and exchange information with other states, providing and receiving technical assistance that is aimed at confiscating illegally acquired assets,” said the AG.
He said that last month, the government signed the Framework for the Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime in Kenya (FRACCK) with the Swiss Federal Council.
Justice (Rtd) Kariuki said they are hoping to conclude the same with the United Kingdom and Jersey governments.
“It was on the basis of such co-operation that last year the government recovered some money from a UK-based company that was indicted of corrupt practices relating to some procurement in the country,” said Justice (Rtd) Kariuki.
The AG said corruption and other governance problems sometimes take advantage of flaws in domestic political economy and international factors that depend on domestic processes.
“The ability to conceal and move financial assets abroad with pressures created by gaps in foreign investment, an open-ended global economy and an increasingly versatile communications have made effects on governance and corruption even more complex,” he said.
The AG further said that while globalisation has allowed international criminals to operate virtually without regard to borders, governments and law enforcement agencies remain limited by national boundaries.
“The lack of adequate training or capacity, logistics and other resources often lead to ineffective investigations and prosecution of cases whose variables transcend geo-political boundaries especially in developing countries,” said the AG.
He said that it is imperative for countries across the world to strengthen international cooperation to effectively tackle activities of local, regional and international organised crime which tends to involve corruption-related offences.
The AG added that the government has established a multi-agency framework that has brought together relevant law enforcement agencies in its fight against corruption.
According to him, the multi-agency approach uses the strength of the various institutional mandates jointly to trace and freeze assets, investigate corruption incidences and prosecute perpetrators of corruption.
“The agencies will follow the corrupt wherever they are hiding; we will lock them up,” said AG Kariuki.
He said that in tackling corruption, lawyers, regardless of their positions, play a central and critical role, noting that few business transactions are conducted without the involvement of a legal practitioner.
“Let us place the dignity of our people above self-interests and remember that we have a choice beyond what the law and the Constitution demand of us,” said the AG.
The AG noted that it is alarming that in a recent study, it was revealed that 50 percent of young people in the country do not care what means a person uses to make money as long as they do not end up in jail.