Director Criminal Investigations (DCI) Transnational Organized Crime detectives are holding 15 suspects in connection with passports issuance corruption scandal at Nyayo House, Nairobi.
This comes weeks after the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Administration Prof Kithure Kindiki directed that investigations be conducted following public outcry.
According to a statement by the office of the DCI, in the ongoing operation which was launched on Monday, October 2, 2023, six Department of Immigration Services staff including an intern and nine suspected brokers have been arrested, while manhunt for more suspects who got wind of the operation and run into hiding continues.
“In the classic case of grand corruption, members of the public and foreigners seeking passports and work permits respectively have been forced to part with huge sums of money to access services, after the rogue officials took advantage of a temporary system downtime to satisfy their sheer greed for extras. ” The statement read.
DCI says the crooked officials went ahead to plant brokers around the facility, to entice and collect funds from desperate applicants with emergency cases, as well as persons of means who were able to influence special treatment at the expense of ordinary Kenyans who procedurally tendered their applications.
After days of meticulous forensic analysis and profiling of the identified suspects, the detectives raided the Department of Immigration Services on Monday, October 2 where five suspects (four staff and a broker) were whisked away for interrogation.
This included Nicodemus Muide, Aloise Gitonga Kiura, Stephen Makokha, Mohamud Khalif Maalim, 38 (a broker) and Esther Ogega Nyambura aka Pauline Nyangara Ogega aka Carol aka Purity who is an intern at the department.
Confronted by the facts of the allegations laid against him, Muide unfortunately fell ill and was rushed to AAR Hospital along Kiambu Road where he was diagnosed with heart attack and high sugar levels.
He was released on bail to continue with treatment as detectives sought custodial orders for the rest of the suspects at Kahawa Law Courts to complete investigations.
The suspect has since recuperated. In the subsequent operations at Nyayo House and the Central Business District, another staff member, Joseph Ireri Karani and eight brokers have been arrested.
These are; Abdullahi Abdirahman Ali, Bashir Ore Ibrahim, Damaris Kwamboka Bosire, Charles Mucheru Mwangi, George Karancha Obare, Domiciano Makori Oketch, Isaac Mbulo and Luke Lang’at.
A trail of transactions by the suspects on their mobile money and bank accounts indicating how money was remitted to the immigration officers and their proxies has since been obtained, with the view of presenting water-tight evidence during prosecution.
The arrest of the 15 comes barely six weeks after four other suspects were arrested on August 25 for soliciting for bribes in the issuance of the passports.
Their arrest was preceded by a series of impromptu visits to Nyayo House by Prof Kindiki, who sought to find out why there accumulated a backlog of over 40,000 passport applications and establish measures of clearing the same.
The CS, who gave a 10-day directive for the pile up to be cleared, had said, “We will clean up this place from corruption cartels on anyone asking for bribes here. We will arrest and prosecute them. We have already made some arrests and I want to make it clear that this space is not available for corruption.”
Prof Kindiki had noted that despite some immigration officers working tirelessly to attend to the citizens on the basis of “first come first served” (as should be), the rogue ones who run a well-organized criminal ring was a let-down, a cartel he swore to sweep away.
As further investigations heighten, appropriate charges are being preferred.