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U.K. Bans Kenyans For Corruption

Britain has banned 20 Kenyans from entering the country. According to reports last week from the BBC and others, the names of those banned haven’t been made public but they may include senior civil servants, politicians and businessmen. Britain’s High Commissioner (ambassador) to Kenya, Rob Macaire, said the ban was necessary because Kenya has never convicted a senior official of corruption.

In November, the U.S. ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger, confirmed on his Twitter page that the U.S. government had denied a visa to Kenya’s attorney general Amos Wako. It was the first time an American official had revealed a visa determination under Presidential Proclamation 7750, the executive order giving the State Department the power to exclude foreign kleptocrats, their families and friends. See our post here.

In July 2007, the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office opened a criminal investigation into contracts between the Kenyan government and a U.K. business known as Anglo Leasing Finance. The contracts for passport controls and border security systems were awarded to phantom overseas companies at inflated prices that topped $100 million. Kenya refused to cooperate and in February this year the SFO ended its investigation, saying without support from the Kenyan government the case couldn’t be prosecuted.

Attorney General Wako has denied being involved in corruption and blamed the lack of cooperation with the SFO on Kenya’s judicial system. 

Kenya’s former top anti-corruption officer, John Githongo, began investigating Anglo Leasing Finance after his appointment in 2002. He delivered his report to President Mwai Kibaki in November 2005. (A copy, later leaked to the public, can be downloaded here.) He received death threats and fled to England. From there, Githongo publicly blew the whistle on many of Kenya’s top politicians. President Kibaki was forced to fire three ministers — though he reappointed two of them a year and half later.

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