28 March 2022
Her Majesty's Attorney General for Jersey has signed an Asset Recovery Agreement (ARA) with the Government of the Republic of Kenya in London today which will facilitate the return of £3 million to support Kenya's Government in their ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds were confiscated by Jersey authorities in 2016, following the successful conviction of Windward Trading Ltd for money laundering offences.
The Jersey-Kenya ARA is of international importance as it will enable the first return under the Framework for the Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime in Kenya (FRACCK), a multilateral initiative involving Kenya, the UK, and Switzerland and Jersey. The FRACCK was signed in the presence of former UK Prime Minister Theresa May in August 2018, by the President of Switzerland H.E Alain Berset, during his official visit to Kenya in July 2018, and by Jersey's Minister for External Relations, Senator Ian Gorst, in his official visit to Kenya in December 2018.
In July 2020, the FRACCK Steering Committee decided that the £3M should be channelled into projects that would help Kenya's COVID-19 response. With the assistance of Jersey Overseas Aid, two third-party suppliers were selected to deliver these programmes in Kenya namely: Crown Agents and Amref Health Africa. The ARA sets out that 90% of the funds will be allocated to the procurement of essential medical equipment, including Intensive Care Units and hospital beds, through Crown Agents. The remaining 10% of the funds will support a community-based project with Amref Health Africa, which will strengthen healthcare worker capacity and enhance home-based care.
The ARA was signed by Her Majesty's Attorney General for Jersey, Mark Temple QC, and the Kenya High Commissioner to United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, H.E. Ambassador Manoah Esipisu, MBS.
Commenting after the signing ceremony, Her Majesty's Attorney General, Mark Temple QC, said:
"I am delighted that we have concluded this agreement to return these funds to Kenya to support their efforts in combating COVID-19.
Corruption is not a victimless crime. It has both direct and indirect consequences for people living in countries where corrupt practices have taken place. The signing of this agreement today shows that Jersey does not tolerate financial crime and that our officers will confiscate monies associated with corruption and ensure that such funds are returned for the benefit of the people who have suffered from the effects of corruption.
We have already prosecuted the Jersey company involved for money laundering offences, and continue to support the ongoing extradition proceedings by the prosecuting authority in Kenya to bring the individuals responsible to justice."
Jersey's Minister for External Relations, Senator Ian Gorst, commented:
"This is the culmination of years of hard work and cooperation between Jersey officials, and our international partners.
"Reaching agreement on the return of these funds in a transparent and accountable manner is fully aligned with the FRACCK principles. This puts Jersey at the forefront of emerging international best practice in the field of asset recovery and will ensure that the peoples of Jersey, the UK, Switzerland and – most importantly – the people of Kenya can have full confidence that these funds will be returned in plain sight and for the benefit of the people of Kenya as they continue to deal with the effects of the pandemic.
"The FRACCK instrument, and subsequent ARA, serve as an excellent example of the imaginative approaches that the international community can explore to achieve meaningful progress in the recovery of stolen assets. I hope that this acts as a model of future returns under the FRACCK and will act as further demonstration of Jersey's continued commitment to the international cooperation in the fight against corruption."
Kenya High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Amb. Manoah Esipisu commented:
"The signing of ARA is historic since is signifies Kenya's Government unwavering commitment to fighting corruption in all its manifestation. The repatriation of the £3M signifies that there is nowhere in the world for corruption individuals to hide their loot."
"The Government of Kenya is committed to working with partners such as United Kingdom, Switzerland and Jersey, to realise the aspiration of FRACCK. Other countries could learn best practices in tracking and repatriation of illicit funds from the implementation of this FRACCK initiative."
"As a state party to both the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, Kenya is committed to working with partners in any part of the world in the war against corruption. The utilisation of the repatriated funds (£3M) will go a long way in hastening the realization of Universal Health care (UHC) programme which is one of the flagship areas under the Big 4 Agenda of the current Kenyan Government."
Head of Public Service of Kenya, Dr. Joseph Kinyua, commented:
"On the 3rd March, 2017, the preliminary Asset Sharing Agreement was signed between the Government of Kenya and the Government of Jersey, paving the way for the process that has culminated to this auspicious moment – the signing of the Asset Recovery Agreement. It is appreciated that the initial intention was to undertake projects within the energy sector, but following the onset of COVID19, the Steering Committee adopted a pragmatic resolution to support project interventions within the health sector, noting the ramifications of the pandemic not only in Kenya, but across all nations."
"We acknowledge that indeed, the conclusion of the Asset Recovery Agreement, aimed at facilitating implementation of the identified developmental activities in Kenya, has been a project long overdue, but one which nonetheless, augments' Kenya's stance and unwavering commitment to fighting corruption both locally, regionally and internationally. The unrelenting efforts over the last few years resolutely affirms the message that all proceeds of corruption once acquired, will ultimately be reapplied to the benefit of Kenyans, notwithstanding the period of time."
"The signing of the Agreement presents the opportunity to reflect upon our national commitments under the Framework Agreement, so as to reinvigorate our collective resolve, and strengthen our actions with purpose and determination, in realization of the FRACCK objectives and aspirations. This also illustrates how foreign parties can come together to agree upon good practices and approaches for the return of stolen assets and their use to advance sustainable development and benefit citizens. Therefore, we call upon like-minded Governments with shared aspirations, commitment and deliberate efforts in this pursuit, to join the Framework Agreement."
Fergus Drake, CEO Crown Agents, commented:
"Crown Agents has a long history of working with both Kenya and Jersey and is extremely proud to partner with their governments to apply this innovative framework for the first time. With countries fighting the dual challenges of the current pandemic and the economic downturn it has caused we know that transparency and accountability matter more than ever.
"With the money recovered from this initiative, we will procure lifesaving medical devices such as oxygen generators and ambulances and deliver them to those health facilities in Kenya which need them most. Crown Agents has a long history of procurement expertise, ensuring value for money for our clients whilst applying our core values of accountability and integrity to every single project we take on.
"To ensure the long-term impact of the programme we will assist with training and capacity building, so this equipment can be put to its best use. In addition, we will deliver a rigorous monitoring regime that ensures this equipment will save as many lives as possible in Kenya as it responds to the COVID-19 pandemic."
Martin Muchangi, Director at Amref Health Africa, said:
"Amref Health Africa, the largest health NGO in Africa, has worked very closely with the Government in Kenya in strengthening capacity for the response to COVID-19 since the first case was reported in the country on March 13th2020. This support comes at a time when the country is grappling with multiple COVID-19 Variants of Concern and an increased need for critical care for those getting hospitalized.
"The funds will go towards sustaining the gains on the COVID-19 response and in engaging communities to increase demand for the vaccine and to ensure that every at risk and vulnerable persons gets the vaccine in a timely manner. We will enhance capacity of our health workers to remain safe while providing optimum critical care especially in the use of medical oxygen, an essential commodity in the management of critical COVID-19 cases."