Gichuru and Okemo challenge DPP Tobiko’s powers to order extradition to New Jersey over corruption and money-laundering

Chris Okemo and Samuel Gichuru at a Nairobi Law Court during the hearing of the Money Laundering and corruption charges

Two former senior Government officials have challenged the Director of Public Prosecutions’ (DPP) powers to extradite them to New Jersey in the US to face corruption and money-laundering charges.

Through lawyer Fred Ngatia and Otachi B’womote, former Cabinet minister Chris Okemo and former Kenya Power Company Managing Director Samuel Gichuru argued that DPP Keriako Tobiko was not within the law in instituting extradition proceedings against them. They said the Executive, not the DPP, had powers to order extradition.

The two told Court of Appeal judges Erastus Githinji, Hannah Okwengu and Jamila Mohamed that the surrender of suspects involves international treaties and foreign relations, which the DPP had no mandate over.

“The procedures for international extradition must conform to the laws of the land, in this case the Constitution,” said Mr Ngatia. “Extradition involves loss of liberty. It is an executive act and is subject to international treaty and to the Constitution.”

He said the definition of the Executive in the Constitution recognised the President, Deputy President and the Cabinet, which included the Attorney General, as the only authorities to issue extradition orders.

“My focus is the definition of the Executive in that sense… the section does not include the DPP. The DPP is not a member of the Cabinet,” Ngatia argued.

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But Deputy DPP Dorcas Oduor opposed the submissions, arguing that the application in court was premature.

“All over the world and in the Commonwealth, extradition proceedings are two-pronged; there is the criminal part and there is the international,” she said.

The matter continues today.

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