Kenya approves extradition of citizens to China, Italy

Tuesday March 21 2023
Ruto Cabinet meeting

President William Ruto chairs a Cabinet meeting at State House, Nairobi, on February 28, 2023. PHOTO | PCS


Kenya’s Cabinet on Tuesday endorsed separate bilateral treaties with China and Italy that will see Nairobi extradite its own citizens to the two countries if they break laws there.

The new arrangement now awaits the nod of the National Assembly to be formally ratified. China tried to have its nationals suspected of cybercrimes removed from Kenya some years back but faced hurdles without an extradition agreement.

A memo from the Cabinet said the ministers accepted the bilateral treaties to “promote effective judicial cooperation” between Kenya and each of the two countries.

“As a consequence of the ratification of treaties, Kenyans who run afoul of the law in the two nations can be extradited for the purpose of carrying out criminal proceedings or executing final custodial sentence in Kenya, and vice versa,” the memo said.

Kenya and China, and Italy, had had no bilateral treaty for extraditions and often banked on Interpol notices for cooperation. The new arrangement means the two sides can also exchange prisoners jailed on their territories or fly suspects from their territories to be charged in another.

In 2016, China removed some 37 nationals from Kenya after they were arrested for cybercrimes on Kenyan soil. Beijing argued the group had committed fraud in China. And while no extradition agreement existed, the group had first to be charged in Kenya before being deported. Taiwan, which China claims is part of its territory, later said the group were from the island, blaming Kenya for ‘wrongful’ deportations.


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Once implemented, the new arrangement means Kenyans jailed in China, or Italy, can complete their sentences in the country. At least 30 Kenyans are already serving varied jail sentences in China.

The Cabinet memo also endorsed tax reforms by ratifying the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty-Related Measures. It argued the move is to prevent base erosion and profit shifting, a practice where companies declare higher profits in jurisdictions with lower tax demands.

“The framework also improves the dispute resolution mechanisms in place and broadens the tax base by ensuring that multilateral enterprises do not avoid taxation on their activities in our country through avoidance of permanent establishment status,” the dispatch said.