Police probe 5,752 irregular Kenya citizenship cases

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Police have launched fresh investigations into cases in which hundreds of foreigners were issued with Kenyan citizenship documents under questionable circumstances.

Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro confirmed that detectives were perusing a big number of files from the Immigration department, including those dated nine years ago.
“They are very many and we are looking into them case by case. The investigations are ongoing and we want to get all those who were involved,” he said.

The investigations target both senior immigration officers and Cabinet ministers who held the Immigration docket.

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5,752 DOCUMENTS

Some 5,752 old cases in which the identification documents were issued by ministers who held the Immigration docket between 2005 and 2010 have been revived.

A report prepared by the serious crimes unit in 2011, but whose recommendations were not acted upon, was retrieved from the shelves and fresh detectives ordered to pursue them.

“Investigations carried out at the ministry headquarters revealed that between 2005 to March 2010, a total of 5,752 Kenyan citizenship certificates were issued by the Department of Immigration to various applicants drawn from different nationalities,” according to the report seen by the Nation.

Among the foreigners granted citizenship were 5,181 Indians and the rest are from other nationalities.

The investigation was conducted when Otieno Kajwang was the Immigration minister and covered a period when three of his predecessors were in office.

It was initiated by the former head of criminal investigations, Gatiba Karanja, who has since passed on.

According to the document, the ministers disregarded the recommendations of Citizen Advisory Reports and the Security Vetting Committee.

FORGED PAPERS

In some cases, the committee noted that the foreigners had presented forged papers in their applications but the minister issued citizenship nevertheless.

In other situations, the detectives obtained the reference numbers given to the foreigners but were shocked after they failed to match with those provided by the Immigration department.

The police identified 52 foreigners who were granted citizenship without the recommendation of the Citizenship Advisory Committee, as required by regulations.

Twelve others who applied on the basis of being married to a Kenyan citizen were granted citizenship without showing proof of marriage.

Those previously deported from Kenya for various reasons and others with criminal records were also among foreigners who were granted citizenship.

Some of them are among the more than 100 foreigners who were deported from Kenya earlier in the year when Joseph Ole Lenku, the Interior minister, took over the Immigration docket.

“In most cases the minister granted citizenship without due regard to the observations and recommendations by the Security vetting report and the citizenship advisory committee,” the report said.

POOR RECORD KEEPING

The vetting committee was established in November 2008 on the recommendations of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, the predecessor of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

It was established as one of the ways of curbing corruption in the department.

In the report, the police detectives further castigated the Immigration office for poor record keeping.

The detectives were denied access to 124 files they had requested in the course of their investigations.

The report further proposed amending the law so as to clip the powers of the minister in charge of Immigration.

“The Kenya Citizenship Act needs to be urgently reviewed as it gives the minister immense powers and unfettered discretion in granting citizenship. Under the Act the minister may grant or reject an application and his or her decision is final and shall not be subject to appeal or review in any court,” it adds.

The current Interior Cabinet Secretary is in charge of the Immigration docket.

Years of corruption in the Immigration department have been blamed for the influx of foreigners into Kenya. Some of these foreigners have been associated with terrorism and other criminal acts.
-nation.co.ke

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