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Bitok vows sustained war on passport brokers, to clear backlog in 2 weeks » Capital News


MOMBASA, Kenya, Aug 31 — The crackdown on suspected brokers and their accomplices linked to passports-issuance racket will be extended to other cities and towns.

Immigration and Citizen Services PS Julius Bitok said similar exercises to last
week’s arrest in Nyayo House of four suspected brokers will be extended to the
Directorate of Immigration’s regional offices.

“The crackdown that is around Nyayo house will be extended to other cities
and towns like Mombasa, Kisumu, Kisii and many other places where there are
complaints from Kenyans that are not able to get services because they’re
people who are suspected to be abetting corruption.”

He said the government was determined to rid Nyayo House of conmen and
middlemen who are suspected to be working with Immigration officers to
extort bribes from applicants seeking passports and other services.

“Besides Immigration Services, Nyayo House hosts many other government
offices… I want to assure Kenyans that we are going to make Nyayo House a
place where you can expect to be served diligently without having to know
anyone or parting with bribes.”

On Friday, DCI officers arrested four men inside Nyayo House over suspected
soliciting of bribes.

The suspects’ phones were confiscated as the officers seek evidence to support prosecution for defrauding unsuspecting applicants.

Two-week commitment

Speaking in Mombasa during a meeting on the National Assembly Committee
on Delegated Legislation, PS Bitok said the backlog on the processing passports will be cleared in two weeks.

“Right now, we are producing around 3600 passports per day. We have
managed to reduce the backlog that was around 100,000 passports to around
45,000. We are projecting that in the next two weeks, there will be no backlog.”

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He added that with the arrival of new printers and the implementation of the
proposed private-public-partnership, the waiting period for passports will be
cut down to within a week and eventually lead to express services.

“We have ordered for new printers and enough booklets for Kenyans. Going
forward, applying, and getting passports will take you a maximum of seven
days. We believe it will be possible to get passports within three days. We going
to introduce express services to ensure that Kenyans get passports within the
shortest time possible.”

The Mombasa meeting had been convened to discuss regulations to enforce
the Refugees Act.

The Committee chaired by Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga is responsible for ensuring statutory laws and regulations are in harmony with the Constitution and acts of Parliament.

Chepkonga said the new regulations were important to help Kenya strike a balance between its humanitarian obligations to regional and international conventions on refugees and the country’s strategic interests.

“It’s very important how we handle refugees in this country because we are a
very kind country, and we are also very exposed.”

The regulations are intended to, among other things, anchor the Shirika Plan
that proposes to move refugees from camps to integrated settlements.

The meeting was also attended by the Commissioner for Refugee Affairs, John
Burugu.

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