Lethal, voracious, cunning and shameless is what best describe the pack of hungry vultures at Nyayo House, Nairobi, targeting those seeking crucial documents.
They are often in groups meandering around the gates that lead you to the building housing the Immigration Department lands and work in cahoots with employees of the ministry to extort “customers”.
Applicants have to part with at least Sh2,500 to secure the release of their documents, even after paying the requisite fees. Those who cannot read between the lines make endless visits to the counters.
Driving the application and tracking process online seems to have done little to push the corruption cartels underground.
According to the department, one is required to pay using mobile money, credit/debit card and online banking.
It should take at least 10 working days to get your first passport once the form has been physically submitted at Immigration. For all other applications, it should take about five working days.
It can take longer if more information is needed or the application form is not filled correctly.
Nyayo House’s Immigration Department, where desperate Kenyans looking for passports and foreigners seeking work permits have become a cash cow for selfish State employees who are minting thousands of shillings from them every day.
A stranger gave a breakdown of how the Sh2,500 bribe would be spread. “Out of this, Sh1,000 will be paid at the Dispatch Department where the file is, Sh1,000 will go to the officer at the Immigration desk, while the remaining Sh500 will go to the person who will deliver it to you,” he said.
The time was 2 pm and the stranger promised that the document would be out at 5 pm. He was careful not to give his number or reveal his name. He told us to be at the gate at exactly 5 pm.
True to his word, he was at the gate at 5 pm with the document, which he gave to one Mr Mwangi after he paid Sh2,500.
The corrupt officials have visited untold misery upon innocent Kenyans. Many people, including have lost golden opportunities outside the country or have incurred extra expenses because of delayed passports.
Evidently, there’s a security breach at Nyayo House, as people who are not officials of the government access these crucial documents with shocking ease.
The Interior Ministry was ranked the most corrupt by the anti-corruption commission in the 2016 Corruption Index.