Economy

VIP travel protocol shake-up looms over privileges abuse concerns

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Terminal 1A at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The meeting between heads of the Immigration Department, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), and the National Police Service was supposed to take place this week but was pushed to next week.
  • The move was prompted by the recent deportation of a controversial Turkish, Harun Aydin whose passport was allegedly not stamped as he exited the country on two occasions contrary to regulations of the Immigration Department.

Officials of security and immigration agencies are set to meet next week to review travel protocol for top State officers amid concerns that some VIPs are abusing privileges accorded to them.

The meeting between heads of the Immigration Department, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), and the National Police Service was supposed to take place this week but was pushed to next week.

The move was prompted by the recent deportation of a controversial Turkish, Harun Aydin whose passport was allegedly not stamped as he exited the country on two occasions contrary to regulations of the Immigration Department.

Director of Immigration Alexander Muteshi told a parliamentary committee last week in Mombasa that they would be meeting this week to discuss the issue, but the meeting failed to take place.

“We did not meet as planned and the meeting has been pushed to next week,” said an official from one of the State agencies who did not want to be quoted.

Mr Aydin, who had been detained at the Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU) headquarters along Ngong Road in Nairobi early this month, was whisked by security agents to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport where he was handed over to Immigration officials who put him on a waiting Turkish flight.

Deputy President William Ruto was barred from traveling to Uganda early in the month over a “protocol hitch” with the office of the President stating that he had not sought clearance as it is required. He was scheduled to join Mr Aydin in Uganda for undisclosed business.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said the Turkish national was deported over money-laundering links and illegal movement into and out of Kenya.

Appearing before the National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security last week, he said an analysis of Mr Aydin’s frequent movements into and out of the country, indicated he had close links with foreigners involved in money-laundering.

However, Dr Ruto has downplayed the reasons given by the government, pointing out that the move was political.