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Tycoon Kariuki challenges law on dual citizenship

Humphrey Kariuki
Businessman Humphrey Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A business tycoon dogged by allegations of evading Sh3 billion tax has challenged a section of the law that specifies punishment for failing to disclose dual citizenship.

Mr Humphrey Kariuki Ndegwa, the proprietor of WOW Beverages and The Hub shopping mall in Nairobi’s upmarket Karen, has sued the Kenya Citizens and Foreign Nationals Management service and the Attorney-General claiming that Section 8(4) of the Immigration Act which prescribes the said punishment limits freedom of movement as provided by the Constitution.

The law states that an individual who fails to disclose his/her dual citizenship within three months is liable to pay a Sh5 million fine, three years imprisonment or both.

But the billionaire, who also holds a Cypriot passport since May 2016, has alleged that the law provides no defence or an exception if the stipulated time frame of three months upon getting the second citizenship elapses.

Administrative issue

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In his suit filed at the High Court on Tuesday, the reclusive billionaire termed this penalty as stiff, arbitrary, oppressive and unjustifiable since it involves an administrative issue of disclosure that can be solved through less restrictive means.

Justifying that he has never kept his dual citizenship a secret, he argues that he has travelled severally with his Cypriot passport to and from Kenya, and it has been stamped 19 times without questions being raised by immigration officials.

“The matter before court does not only concern the applicant but also thousands of Kenyan citizens by birth who have acquired citizenship of other countries, who are apprehensive to enjoy their right to enter Kenya due to the real fear and danger of being arrested at the airport on account of a crime under this law,” said his lawyer Benjamin Musyoki.

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