UK Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Max Hill QC was in Nairobi yesterday to discuss British support for Kenya’s fight against corruption.
Max Hill was educated at the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne and St Peter’s College, Oxford. He was called to the Bar by Middle Temple in 1987 and appointed Queen’s Counsel (QC) in 2008. From 2012, he was Head of Chambers at Red Lion Chambers and also served at Leader of the South Eastern Circuit from 2014 to 2016.
In July 2018, it was announced that he would become the new Director of Public Prosecutions succeeding Alison Saunders, taking up the appointment on 1 November.
Accompanied by High Commissioner Nic Hailey, the DPP had meetings with Chief Justice David Maraga and his Kenyan counterpart Noordin Haji to discuss where people are hiding money in the UK and how the British authorities can provide support to convict those guilty of corruption in Kenya.
The two countries will work together in responding to corruption and terrorism as well as tackling serious, organised and transnational crime.
Addressing the Kenyan Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commssion, Mr Hill said “Corruption is theft from the people … helping each other to tackle corruption … pursuing our casework together where there may be connections or links … can only help”.
Mr Hill and Mr Haji pledged to work together in tracing and returning any assets of graft to benefit Kenyans with assistance from the British High Commissioner, who said on Twitter that the UK “will give every possible support” to Kenya in its fight against corruption.
When asked on the social media network about progress made since Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit last year, when an agreement was signed to return the proceeds of corruption and crime hidden in the UK, Mr Hailey explained there was a need to see convictions in Kenya so the British authorities can seize and bring back money. “We are working hard with Kenyan authorities to secure the same,” he added.
Following a further question, Mr Hailey explained that through the Bribery Act, UK authorities prosecute any British person or firm paying bribes anywhere in the world. He also referenced the case of the British directors of Smith & Ouzman, the company involved in the ‘Chickengate’ scandal, which became the first Serious Fraud Office trial resulting in conviction of a corporate for foreign bribery.
On 22 December 2014 Smith and Ouzman Ltd, a company specialising in printing security documents, together with its chairman, Christopher Smith and its sales and marketing director, Nicholas Smith, were convicted at Southwark Crown Court of corruptly agreeing to make payments totaling nearly half a million pounds. These payments were used to influence the award of business contracts in Kenya and Mauritania.
Christopher John Smith was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, for two counts of corruptly agreeing to make payments, contrary to section 1(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, to run concurrently. He was also ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £4,500 in confiscation along with costs of £75,000.
Nicholas Charles Smith, 43, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for three counts of corruptly agreeing to make payments, to run concurrently. He was ordered to pay a confiscation order of £18,693 within eight weeks and costs of £75,000. Mr Smith was released from prison this February.
Smith and Ouzman Ltd were ordered to pay £2.2 million which is broken down into a confiscation order of £881,158 and a £1,316,799 fine.The company were also ordered to pay £25,000 costs.