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US declines to name Kenyans slapped with visa bans amid speculation

By Cyrus Ombati | December 10th 2015

Nairobi: The US government has declined to name Kenyans who have been slapped with visa bans.

US embassy in Nairobi said despite recent reports in some media outlets, it has not released the names of any of the Kenyans who may be subject to the Presidential Proclamation and cannot respond to speculation about any individual.

“Under U.S. immigration law, information regarding individual visa applications and decisions is confidential and cannot be released,” read part of a statement to the media.

The statement added under the Presidential Proclamation 7750 of January 12, 2004 the United States can deny visas to individuals engaged in or benefiting from corruption that has serious adverse effects on U.S. interests.

“This can include current or former public officials and private citizens.  This is one tool the U.S. Government has available to sanction individuals known to engage in corruption.”

It added since 2004, under Presidential Proclamation 7750, the United States has denied visas to some Kenyan citizens for involvement in corruption.

The Embassy said US will continue to use the full range of tools available to it, including Presidential Proclamation 7750 as appropriate, in the effort to help Kenya end this scourge.

This came amid speculation on Kenyans who might have been banned over linkage to corruption.

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There were reports one of the individuals was two weeks ago denied a visa to travel to a European country.

US ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec on December 1 revealed that there is indeed a list of officers banned from travelling to the US.

“Corruption is a scourge in Kenya and it is something that all Kenyans must fight against. We welcome President Kenyatta’s commitments and the many actions and activities he is undertaking. It is critically important that there is more progress,” he said.

According to sources, a senior Jubilee official, Cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries and some top parastatal bosses facing corruption charges in court are likely to be on the list.

Several Cabinet secretaries in the Jubilee administration have been sacked over corruption allegations in their ministries.

They are Mrs Charity Ngilu (Land), Mr Kazungu Kambi (Labour), Mr Michael Kamau (Transport and Infrastructure), Mr Davis Chirchir (Energy) and Mr Felix Koskei (Agriculture).

Western diplomats recently warned that any public officer linked to corruption risked sanctions, including travel bans.

Apart from the US, nine other countries on November 11 also said they would impose travel restrictions on officials linked to corruption.

These were the United Kingdom, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

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