Kenya to allow extradition of nationals to China, Italy
What you need to know:
- The new arrangement now awaits the nod of the National Assembly to be formally ratified and will fill a void initially seen when China tried to have its nationals suspected of cybercrimes removed from Kenya, some years back.
Kenya’s Cabinet on Tuesday endorsed separate bilateral treaties with China and Italy that will see Nairobi extradite its own citizens to the two countries if they break laws there.
The new arrangement now awaits the nod of the National Assembly to be formally ratified and will fill a void initially seen when China tried to have its nationals suspected of cybercrimes removed from Kenya, some years back.
A memo from the Cabinet Office, Executive Office of the Kenyan President said the ministers accepted the bilateral treaties to “promote effective judicial cooperation” between Kenya and each of the two countries.
“As a consequence of the ratification of treaties, Kenyans who run afoul of the law in the two nations can be extradited for purpose of carrying out criminal proceedings or executing final custodial sentence in Kenya, and vice versa,” the memo said.
Kenya and China, and Italy, had had no bilateral treaty for extraditions and often banked on Interpol notices for cooperation. The new arrangement means the two sides can also exchange prisoners jailed on their territories or fly suspects from their territories to be charged in another.
There had been gaps before, which the new treaty seeks to cure.
In 2016, China removed some 37 nationals from Kenya after they were arrested for conducting ‘cybercrimes’ on Kenyan soil. China argued the group had, in fact, committed fraud in China. And while no extradition agreement existed in Kenya, the group had first to be charged in Kenya before they were flown out. Taiwan, which China claims is part of its territory, later said the group were from the island, blaming Kenya for ‘wrongful’ deportations.
However, the new arrangement, once implemented means Kenyans jailed in China, or Italy, can complete their sentences in Kenya. At least 30 Kenyans are already serving varied jail sentences in China. For example, in July 2019, Simon Wambua Mbuvi, 44, earned was jailed for drug trafficking after authorities arrested him at the airport with drugs in his stomach.
According to documents from the Chinese Intermediate People’s Court of Guangzhou Municipality in Guangdong Province, he was found guilty of trafficking drugs concealed inside his stomach into Chinese territory. Chief Judge Hu Peng and colleagues Wen Fangdao and Huang Jian found Mbuvi had about 947 grammes of cocaine in his stomach and gave him a life sentence. Under Chinese criminal law, he would be facing the death penalty had the amount been a kilo or more. Except Mbuvi was not a veteran trafficker.
The Cabinet memo also endorsed tax reforms by ratifying the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty-Related Measures. It argued the move is to prevent base erosion and profit shifting, a practice where companies declare higher profits in jurisdictions with lower tax demands.
“The framework also improves the dispute resolution mechanisms in place and broadens the tax base by ensuring that multilateral enterprises do not avoid taxation on their activities in our country through avoidance of permanent establishment status,” the dispatch said.