State contemplates punishment for Kenyans who fail to pick printed passports

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki during a surprise visit at Embu immigration regional office on September 12, 2023. [Muriithi Mugo, Standard]

Kenyans who are yet to pick their printed passports may soon be meted by government’s punishment for delaying to collect the travel document.

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki has warned the government is contemplating to take action amid efforts to clear backlog of the documents that have been lying at the immigration department for months.

The CS who made an impromptu visit to check in on the operations at the Embu immigration regional office noted that Nairobi office has 20,000 to 30,000, uncollected passports while Embu has 6,000. 

"On Wednesday we will start a national wide rapid results initiative on collection of passports and we will make it mandatory for collection of pass ports within a specified time that we will announce," Kindiki said. 

He added that the ministry will publish the passport numbers and names of holders who have not collected the travel documents after printing.  

"You cannot put us under pressure as immigration officers to give you a passport then fail to come for it after printing. We have sent text messages and called some of them and they are not in a hurry. We will force them to pick them, use the law accordingly to dispose them and close that chapter," he added.  

Kindiki said he has also decried the poor state of facilities at the Embu immigration office which he said was understaffed and few immigration officers working under dilapidated facilities that are not conducive for work.  

"The Ministry will increase the number of staff from 20 to 30, upgrade the existing physical facilities, equipment and software to increase efficiency. Some of my staff look tired and we must improve the working environment," Kindiki said.

Kindiki further noted that the ministry is dedicated to reduce the turnaround time for service delivery to seven days in the next two months.

"We will further make it a three-day affair and the vision to make a 24 hour prior process from application to receiving the passport."

On corruption Kindiki said the ministry has initiated a process to get rid of all staff not involved in passport processing at the immigration offices saying a few who are colluding with brokers to fleece innocent Kenyans will be prosecuted. 

"We will protect all our good officers who constitute about 99 percent as we deal with the few who expose our country to terrorists and drug barons through corruption," he added.