Public funds allegedly stolen by two Kenyan men are now being returned to Kenya to help fight COVID-19. This convoluted story started to unravel with the divorce of Samuel Gichuru, the owner of a Kenyan power company. Salome Njeri, Gichuru’s soon-to- be ex-wife, told the courts he had more money than he was letting on.
Because of this, an investigation was launched looking into Gichuru’s business dealings, including bank accounts that were not reported in the initial divorce filings. Eleven years into the investigation ended in the arrest of both Guchuru and prior Finance Minister, Chris Okemo.
In 2016, the court found Guchuru’s company guilty of money laundering almost $5 million in total.
In a deal called the Framework for the Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime was made in 2018 to return the funds to Kenya. The deal, included the Prime Minister, at the time, Theresa May, President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta along with the Swiss and Jersey governments. In this deal, laundered or stolen money can be returned to the country of its origin before the end of the suspect’s trial.
Fergus Drake, the person overseeing the spending of the laundered money said to BBC News that 90 percent of the money will be used for, “specific lab equipment to test for Covid-19” and ancillary equipment “like micro-tubes, PCR tests, and other kits”. It is said that the equipment will be purchased and sent to Kenya in the next couple of months.
The other 10% will be used to, “support a community-based project with Amref Health Africa, which will strengthen healthcare worker capacity and enhance home-based care,” reported the Business Daily Africa. It is said that the equipment will be purchased and sent to Kenya in the next couple of months. It is unsure whether the two men charged in the crimes will end up being sent back to Kenya.