State given second chance to allow deported Kenyan-born Briton into the country

The suspect, JHK, appeared before Mombasa Principal Magistrate Vincent Adet for assaulting a pastor at one of the local churches.

Photo credit: Laban Walloga | Nation Media Group

A Mombasa court has given two government agencies a second chance to implement orders requiring them to allow a British man who was born in Kenya to enter the country. 

The Ministry of Interior and the Immigration Department were on Wednesday found to be in contempt of court by refusing to allow Ahmad Zaheer to enter the country.

The court made the order allowing Zaheer to enter the country in 2021.

“I grant the respondents one more chance to implement the order as it is. They must comply fully with the orders issued on August 20, 2021 without any strings or conditions attached with the intention of curtailing full implementation of the said order," Justice John Onyiego ruled.

The judge declined to commit to civil jail Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki and Principal Immigration officer-in-charge of enforcement section Jimmy Nyikuli despite finding them guilty of contempt of court. 

The judge said Mr Nyikuli misinterpreted the law when Mr Zaheer was denied entry into the country on the basis that he had not proved the source of funds sufficient to sustain him in the country before entry. 

“The respondents are warned that in the event of any further disobedience to the said court order, the respondents shall automatically be summoned to show cause why they will not be committed to civil jail for contempt of the said orders,” said the judge. 

The court ruled that Section 33 (2) (c) of the Immigration Act which was used to deny Mr Zaheer entry into the country was not applicable in his case, noting that the same was erroneously interpreted. 

The judge said that the section reveals that only an inadmissible person who is not a Kenyan citizen is the one who is required to prove his financial ability sufficient enough to support himself or his dependents. 

“In this case, Mr Zaheer’s name had been removed from the list of prohibited immigrants or inadmissible persons. In the circumstances, it is my understanding and I believe correctly that that provision does not apply in the case of the applicant nor does it affect him,” he said. 

In addition, the court noted that having been a regular traveler into the country in which his family is residing, Mr Zaheer does not need such a condition. 

The only condition that the court had attached to warrant his entry into the country was issuing of the necessary visa which was done after his name was removed from the list of prohibited immigrants/inadmissible persons. 

“The claim that there was another condition involving verification of Mr Zaheer’s financial ability to be able to live in Kenya is an afterthought purely crafted to intentionally defeat the whole purpose of getting clearance to gain entry into the country,” the court noted. 

In 2021, the court declared Mr Zaheer’s deportation illegal and unconstitutional and issued an order quashing the decision declaring him an illegal immigrant or an inadmissible person in Kenya. 

The court made further orders directing the Interior Ministry and the Immigration department to remove Mr Zaheer’s name from the list of inadmissible persons pending investigation on the allegations made against him. 

The court also ordered that the complainant be allowed to enter Kenya upon acquiring the necessary visa and that any criminal allegations against him be investigated in accordance with the laws of Kenya and necessary actions be taken pursuant to any such investigations. 

The allegations against the Briton were that he was involved in human trafficking. This is according to the National Intelligence Service. 

The  Department of Immigration Services (DIS) communicated this to the court, noting that  Mr  Zaheer, who was at the time challenging his deportation in court, was on the watch list of the directorate’s Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (Pisces).

 However, Mr Zaheer discredited these allegations terming them as lies meant to mislead the court, adding that he would have been arrested and charged in court if the allegations of involvement in human trafficking were true.

Mr Zaheer, 74, was deported from the country in October 2020, two days after his arrival. He won the case against the state , after the High Court ruled in his favour. 

He returned to the court in November last year complaining that the Interior Ministry and the Immigration Department had not complied with the court orders. 

He therefore wanted the CS Kindiki and the Immigration department cited for contempt of court. 

Mr Zaheer also asked for a declaration that the respondents were unfit to hold office but the court declined , noting that the same will be so punitive. 


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