20. March 2017

First ever UK conviction of a corporate for foreign bribery in Kenya

The Basel Institute on Governance welcomes the successful conclusion of a case of asset recovery involving the UK and Kenya. The assets in the amount of £2,222,957 were confiscated by Mr Recorder Andrew Mitchel QC in the case of R v Smith and Ouzman. The UK authorities decided that an amount of £349,057.39 should be used to purchase specialised ambulances that were formally handed over to the Kenyan Government on 17 March. The purchase of ambulances with the returned assets meets urgent needs in the Kenyan health care delivery system. This was the first ever conviction for overseas bribery by the UK authorities in what is considered to be a landmark case.

The Basel Institute encourages the transparent and accountable use of assets confiscated in international corruption and money laundering investigations for the purpose of advancing national development goals in the country of origin, and welcomes this example of cooperation between requesting and requested state in the determination of the end use of the returned assets.

This is in line with discussions in the context of on-going international efforts "to identify good practices (...) that address the administration of seized and confiscated assets, including with a view to contributing to sustainable development" (Resolution 6/3 of the Conference of the States Parties to the UNCAC on “Fostering effective asset recovery”). A number of individuals face ongoing proceedings before the Kenyan courts in respect of these actions and it is also noted that both states supplied material to the other in order to facilitate the prosecutions in both states.

Read more in the media coverage here.