In Summary
  • China wants the 76 to be tried back home
  • Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said the Chinese nationals would stand trial in Kenya due to the absence of legal provisions to back the Chinese request.
  • The 77 suspects are said to have stolen close to Sh1.5 billion from their victims in China through electronic fraud.

Kenya has declined a request by the Chinese government to hand over 76 of its citizens who are facing cybercrime charges following their arrest in Nairobi last year.

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said the Chinese nationals would stand trial in Kenya due to the absence of legal provisions to back the Chinese request.

“The court case is ongoing. We do not have a provision like that (handing over suspects to another country) in our laws. Anything you hear like that is a bad and ugly rumour,” the PS told the Sunday Nation.

In February, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale revealed that he had drafted a Bill that would facilitate the returning of prisoners to their home counties to complete the legal process and serve their time, if any, there.

The Transfer of Prisoners Bill, if passed, could see a number of Kenyans serving jail terms in foreign countries transferred back home to complete their terms. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was the first to make the request during his official visit to Kenya in mid-January.

“What we want is to repatriate these citizens so that they will undergo fair trial inside China instead of getting released here in Kenya,” he told reporters at a press conference.

“Available evidence shows that this is a case of fraud launched from outside China against Chinese citizens inside China, and the suspects used very simple measures. But this is by no means a cyber-attack as some media have speculated.”

The next day, the Chinese ambassador to Kenya, Mr Liu Xianfa, wrote to Kenya’s Foreign Affairs ministry requesting that the 76 be handed over.

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