Queen's Counsel Explains UK Law That Could Assist in Handling Graft Cases

  • From left: former Mayor Taib Ali Taib, Queen's Counsel Khawar Qureshi,Ex-DPP Philip Murgor, and current DPP Noordin Haji at the Plea Bargaining workshop in Naivasha on 7/12/2018 Twitter
  • The Queens Counsel (QC) Khawar Qureshi who has handled high-profile cases across the Commonwealth countries, on Friday disclosed a strategy used in handling corruption matters in the UK that impressed DPP Noordin Haji.

    The two were attending a Plea Bargaining workshop in Naivasha when Qureshi gave a compelling argument based on the UK experience on the effectiveness of lawful seizure of unexplained assets to discourage grand corruption.

    The same law is however not observed in Kenya, a situation DPP Haji confirmed to address in the fight against corruption.

    DPP Haji speaking at the Plea Bargaining workshop in Naivasha

    The provision is provided in the Criminal Finances Act which introduces new measures to tackle asset recovery and money laundering in the UK.

    A key element of the Act is Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) – an investigative tool to help law enforcement take action on corrupt assets.

    From Right: Queens Counsel Khawar Qureshi, Ex-DPP Philip Murgor and DPP Noordin Haji

    A red flag that allows a judge to issue the UWO is if the respondent’s known income is insufficient to obtain the asset.

    The UWO requires the respondent to explain how he lawfully acquired his assets.

    According to Transparency International, If the respondent fails to respond or gives an inadequate response then this extra information can be used in a separate civil recovery process (an existing measure under the Proceeds of Crime Act) if law enforcement has gathered sufficient evidence.

    Earlier on Friday, Attorney General Paul Kihara allowed Qureshi to practice as an advocate in Kenya but should only focus on Deputy Chief Justice  Philomena Mwilu graft case.

    Explaining his decision to take on the case, the UK lawyer stated that he had insights that could help in handling the matter.

    “I'm an international counsel who has acted on hundreds of challenges to decisions of UK government and for different states on large-scale fraud and corruption matters including Nigeria, Russia and some African states I can’t mention. Hopefully, I can bring that insight on these issues,” he remarked.

    From Left: Ex-DPP Philip Murgor, DPP Noordin Haji and Queens Counsel Khawar Qureshi