By Beth Nyaga
The Swedish Government has pledged Mutual Legal Assistance to the Government of Kenya in its efforts to combat corruption and transnational crime.
The support is part of the various reform programs aimed at strengthening at Governance, Justice and the Rule of Law in the country and are being undertaken by the State Law Office.
Critical areas to be supported include the establishment and operationalization of the Assets Recovery Agency as well as cooperation in pursuing criminal matters under the two governments’ jurisdictions.
The support was pledged to the Government of Kenya by the Swedish Ambassador to Kenya, His Excellency Johan Borgstam when he paid a courtesy call to the Attorney General, Professor Githu Muigai at his offices on Thursday.
The Ambassador observed that the Government had made significant strides in the Governance, Justice and Rule of Law (GJLOS) program hence the need for mutual legal assistance by other stakeholders.
The Mutual Legal Assistance Act 2011 which came into effect on 2nd December 2011 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.
The concern for Mutual Legal assistance is the channel of state inter-relations in addressing criminal matters. The Act allows for the creation of a Central Authority through the legal advisors of the member states that reduces the bureaucratic channels of diplomacy in addressing the criminal matters.
The Act allows for the identification and confiscation of properties obtained either directly or indirectly from criminal activities in different states.
The import of the Act is that beneficiaries of criminal activities in Kenya will have fewer places to hide their loot as the government continues to address the concerns of corruption and transnational crimes.