In Summary
  • Chinese Ambassador says suspects should be turned over because “the results of investigations indicate that all the victims (of the fraud) are in China”.
  • National Assembly Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations vice-chairman Mr Barre Shill says the pressure from the Chinese is “not logical”.

The Chinese Government has formally asked Kenya to hand over 76 of its citizens who are facing cyber-crime charges in Nairobi.

The suspects arrested in Nairobi had stolen close to Sh1.5 billion from their victims in China through electronic fraud, Chinese authorities revealed, as they pushed Kenya to have them extradited.

The Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, Mr Liu Xianfa, wrote to the Foreign Affairs ministry, indicating that the suspects should be turned over because “the results of investigations indicate that all the victims (of the fraud) are in China”.

“The social impact of the crime is terribly serious and the Chinese Government and public paid high attention to this case,” said Mr Liu in the letter dated January 13. “At the request of the Chinese victims, the Chinese police has (sic) formally filed these cases.”

According to the police in Nairobi, the 76 Chinese and one Thai national were arrested in the upmarket Runda Estate for operating an illegal telecommunications system.

One of the houses from which they had been operating was gutted in a fire during which one person, also Chinese, was reported to have died.

“Taking into account of the seriousness of the above mentioned crime, the huge loss suffered by the Chinese victims and the friendly relations between China and Kenya, the Chinese Government further requests the Kenya Government to repatriate the above mentioned suspects to China at an early date for further investigations and prosecution,” said Mr Liu’s letter.

Asked to comment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it does not comment on diplomatic issues through the media.

“By policy, the Government of Kenya and for that matter Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade responds to any diplomatic communication, be it from the Chinese Government or any other foreign government, only through diplomatic channels,” a statement sent to the Nation said.

But early this week, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said Kenya and China had been discussing some form of “judicial cooperation”.

“We have talked about what kind of instruments we need to start negotiating and what kind of work we need to do,” she said.

On Thursday, the National Assembly Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations vice-chairman, Mr Barre Shill, said the pressure from the Chinese is “not logical”.

He added: “These people (are suspected to have) committed crimes in Kenya; until we finish with them, there is no reason we should repatriate them. If the Chinese Government has a case with them, let them wait after we are done with them.”

TRY THEM HERE

Law Society of Kenya chairman Eric Mutua said Kenya should try the suspects.

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