City tycoon wins round one of court battle on his dual citizenship
Controversial businessman, Humphrey Kariuki Ndegwa, has won round one of a court battle over his dual citizenship after the High Court temporarily suspended implementation of Section 8(4) of the Immigration Act.
The Act states that a dual citizen who fails to disclose the dual citizenship in the prescribed manner commits an offence and shall be liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding Sh5 million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.
The businessman moved to court to challenge the law on the declaration of dual citizenship.
He argued that the law provides no defense or an exception if the stipulated time frame of three months upon getting the second citizenship elapses.
The businessman, who is 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.
But the billionaire, who also holds a Cypriot passport since May 2016 has also defended himself from criminal offence, saying he did not know he was supposed to disclose his dual citizenship within just three months.
The High Court order which suspended implementation of Section 8(4) of the Immigration Act states in part:
“In the Interim and pending of the petition, the court be pleased and hereby issues a conservatory order in public interest and in the end of justice, suspending and or staying the continued implementation of action under prosecution or any act enforcing section 8(4) of the Kenyan Citizenship and Immigration Act against the petitioner or any other Kenyan Citizen in Kenya or in the diaspora who has acquired dual citizenship.”
Mr Kariuki also claims that as soon as he learnt about the disputed law, he filled a document known as Form 3 as required by the law.
He says, however, that when he attempted to present it to the director of immigration services, he was threatened with imminent prosecution.
“It is disproportionate and excessive to punish Kenyans working abroad through conviction and stiff sentencing on account of an administrative issue of disclosure that can be achieved through less restrictive means,” claims Kariuki.
Mr Kariuki wants the law declared unconstitutional, arguing it limits freedom of movement as guaranteed by the Constitution and the punishment injustfiable.