Thursday, July 31, 2014
The International Criminal Court now wants banks, mobile phone companies, the registrar of companies and the Kenya Revenue Authority compelled to release President Uhuru Kenyatta’s financial records.
In its latest ruling ahead of Uhuru’s date with the Hague judges, the Trial Chamber V Bench maintained that the required records must be provided by all means, including compulsion.
“The Chamber considers that additional steps, pursuant to ordinary domestic investigation channels—utilising compulsory measures where appropriate – ought to be undertaken in parallel and in a timely manner,” the judges directed Attorney General Githu Muigai.
The Chamber also trashed arguments by the AG that the “work of prosecution investigators was being outsourced to the Kenyan government”. The judges, Kuniko Ozaki, Geoffrey Henderson and Robert Fremr, also validated the extensive requests by ICC prosecutors.
“It is a reasonable investigative premise that an accused with access to substantial resources may choose to act through various intermediary entities, as this would in particular, reduce the traceability of transactions intended to further a criminal purpose,” they said.
Githu had dismissed the request by Prosecution Chief Fatou Bensouda as irrelevant to the charges and too broad. The wide-ranging requests, which were made public for the first time late Tuesday seeks disclosure of the President’s records for about three years beginning June 1, 2007 to December 15, 2010.
“Investigations inquiries may not be confined merely to the immediate period of the violence,” the judges ruled. “In the context of certain records, a longer time period may also be justified for comparison purposes where pattern of activity may be significant in revealing unusual communication or transactions.”
This is the second time the ICC Judges are asking the Kenyan authorities to use compulsion to comply with its cooperation obligations to the court. The judges have threatened to refer Kenya to the Assembly of State Parties if it declines to disclose the records.
Already, a separate chamber has issued orders to the govern- ment to compel nine witnesses to testify against Deputy President William Ruto and his co-accused, journalist Joshua Sang. Uhuru’s trial is set to begin on October 7.
In the decision, it emerged that Bensouda is seeking to probe telephone numbers ascribed to, used by or associated with Uhuru, complete with call data records and financial transactions made through M-Pesa.
She also wants statements from bank and other financial institutions held by Uhuru, third parties or corporate entities associated with him. In addition, she is also requesting for details of vehicles registered to, owned or regularly used by Uhuru or corporate entities associated with him.
The prosecution also wants the income tax and value added tax returns of the President and corporate entities associated with him and submitted to KRA during the stated period.
Bensouda is seeking land and real estate property belonging to the accused, either personally or through third parties, which was transferred between June 1, 2007 and December 15, 2010. The prosecutor is pursuing the details to prove that Uhuru bankrolled the 20
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