Corrupt individuals have been banned from visiting the United States or investing their money there as the effects of a mutual assistance framework being sought by Kenyan investigative agencies with international partners in order to fight graft begins to bite.
The travel ban announcement by the US came as State House defended President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Sunday outburst, saying he had reached his elastic limit on petty politics at the expense of his development agenda and the war on corruption.
“By now all of you should know the President has reached his elastic limit. He does not want to entertain politics that have no value but agenda that unites all Kenyans,” Statehouse spokesperson Kanze Dena told journalists.
This came as the American Embassy is evaluating visa applications in order to weed out corrupt individuals from stepping on American soil. The embassy was responding to the Daily Nation about the outcome of the visit by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji and the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti.
The move is part of a raft of measures America has put up in order to help Kenya, one of its key allies in the region in fighting graft, trafficking of narcotics and money laundering. Such measures were also behind the extradition of the Akasha brothers to the US last year to face charges of drug trafficking.
The new measures which include funding and improvement of capacity by Kenyan authorities in the war against corruption will also aid fighting of smuggling at the Mombasa port which for a long time has been a gateway for drug traffickers.
“The US Embassy is closely vetting visa applications and revoking the visas of those individuals known to be engaged in graft to ensure corrupt individuals do not have the opportunity to spend their ill-gotten gains in the US,” the US Embassy told the Daily Nation.
“The US has funded programs to help Kenya’s customs authorities root out smuggling at Mombasa port and expanded US assistance to help Kenya develop new tools to fight money laundering,” said the American Embassy.
The US has in the past denied visas to persons believed to be engaged in drug trafficking with the most famous being former Kilome MP Harun Mwau in 2010. Travel bans have however been criticised by some quarters of not achieving much since those whose visas are rejected are never made public.
During Mr Kinoti and Mr Haji’s visit to the US, Kenya also secured the posting of a senior prosecutor from Washington in Nairobi to help strengthen the Kenyan government’s war on corruption. It is not clear where the senior prosecutor would be stationed as the embassy directed us to the US Department of Justice in Washington, DC. The department is yet to respond to our questions.
The trip by the DPP and the DCI to the US came just weeks after Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma led a high powered delegation to Washington whose visit resulted in the signing a revitalised Security Governance Joint Country Action Plan in a bid to boost co-operation on governance, anti-corruption, and civilian security.
While in the US, Mr Haji and Mr Kinoti met with Federal Bureau of Investigations Deputy Director David Bowidich, Head of Public Integrity at the Department of Justice Annalou Tirol and US Deputy Attorney-General Bruce Swartz.