Kenya, Jersey Island Sign Deal for Return of Graft Money

Kenyan officials signed an agreement Tuesday with Jersey, an island off the coast of France, that will pave the way for the return to Kenya of about $5 million stolen from government coffers.

Kenya's attorney general, Paul Kihara Kariuki, and the external affairs minister from the government of Jersey, Senator Ian Gorst, signed the Framework for Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime, or FRACCK, in Nairobi.

In March of last year, the two governments signed a preliminary asset-sharing agreement that sought to ensure that the stolen funds would be sent back to Kenya.

Gorst said the deal was aimed at strengthening cooperation and would prevent, identify and control illicit financial flows.

"We are transparent in what we are doing in financial services and we meet the highest international standards, but that's not good enough," Gorst said. "We also want to partner with countries, and today we are partnering with Kenya to make sure that if Jersey in the past has been used for the proceeds of crime, we will work together and ensure that those proceeds are repatriated for the benefit of communities in those countries."

The agreement between Kenya and Jersey follows similar arrangements that Kenya has made with Britain and Switzerland.

Kenya and Jersey say the treaty will allow Kenya to recover approximately $5 million worth of assets hidden in accounts on the island.

Kenya's Kihara said steps are in place to ensure that the money is used lawfully and for the good of the country.

"These proceeds will make a lot of change, let's say building hospitals where health facilities are not easily accessible," Kihara said.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is in his final term, has intensified the war on corruption.

In June, Kenyatta announced that all public servants would undergo a compulsory "lifestyle audit" to account for the sources of their income and assets. He said corruption will not be tolerated.

This week, a number of high-level Kenyan officials were arrested, arraigned in court and charged with various corruption-related offenses.

Source: Voice of America