We are gathered here to witness this very important ceremony which affirms the government’s commitment in the fight against corruption; the cooperation of governments in strengthening the legal and judicial systems in the fight against transnational crimes.
You are aware that my Office is the Central Authority for Mutual Legal Assistance in Kenya. The Office is responsible for creating the laws that facilitate the apprehension of persons engaged in criminal affairs in operations that transverse the different states. These include guiding laws to extradition between states, transfer of prisoners, recovery of stolen assets in foreign countries, among others.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Swiss Federal Council and the Republic of Kenya on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters goes a long way in reassuring Kenyans that the days of thieves are numbered. You can run but you no longer have a hiding place because all our partners are supporting us in this fight.
The MOU in Criminal Matters aims at defining the scope of MLA in Criminal Matters; promoting greater understanding of the existing laws, legal systems and legal institutions in both countries while providing technical assistance that is aimed at confiscating illegally acquired assets and repatriating the same.
The Mutual Legal Assistance Act 2011 came into effect on 2nd December 2011 and provides for legal assistance to be given and received by the Government of Kenya from foreign countries and partners in relations to investigations, prosecutions and judicial proceedings on criminal matters.
Our governments have bilateral agreements that allow for legal assistance to be granted and received in relations to investigations, prosecutions and judicial proceedings on criminal matters through the Central Authority.
All countries have challenges but the support of the people we serve gives us the drive to ensure that we strive to achieve a zero tolerance status in Kenya. It is our belief that if not controlled or eliminated corruption and its attendant vices will continue to remain a big threat to the survival of the state. As it is we will not allow illegitimate forces to control the state as this would lead to the country degenerating into a totally lawless society.
As a Government, we are trying to marshal the discipline we need to confront these cartels that are trying to control the state using illegal processes and illicit proceeds,”
Your fear of corruption is what led the Swiss Government to put in austerity and harsh measures in addressing this vice. The struggle has not been easy. We did not want to lose the support of the people who put so much faith in us.
The Government of Kenya believes that practical guidelines for law enforcement across international borders ought to be strengthened through legislation and established where they do not exist.
Our key areas of cooperation shall include assets recovery in various parts of the world as well as the repatriation of criminals and their proceeds. We are working with our partners
to assist us bring these criminals home to face justice as well as recover what has been looted. We will continue to further enhance our bilateral cooperation and exchanges as well as establish and improve cooperation mechanisms in the repatriation and recovery of assets. We are also looking at developing the Treaty on Extradition.
We thank all our partners gathered here for their continued support.
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Swiss Ambassador to Kenya, Mr. Ralf Heckner and Attorney General Professor Githu Muigai sign and Exchange Documents acknowledging the existence of Mutual Legal Assistance between the two countries.