Head of Special Crimes Prevention Unit Noah Katumo told journalists
in Nairobi on Thursday that the suspects including a police officer and a
Kenya Airways staffer were found with 29 fake passports and 39 visa
seals found on them in a security operation in Nairobi.
"We are questioning the nine suspects whom were arrested on Wednesday
with fake passport and visa documents. We do not know how many people
have managed to pass the airport using these fake documents but we are
trying to establish. It seems to be a serious cartel," Katumo said on
He cautioned the people behind the racket of dire consequences,
saying using or printing a fake passport is a threat to national and
According to Katumo, the suspects include two Ethiopians, two Somalis
and two Bangladesh nationals, adding that the Kenya Airways staffer is
believed to have been helping other suspects with fake papers to pass
through the airport.
Police involved in the operation said the foreigners arrested in
Ngara residential estate were headed for Mozambique, South Africa and
Angola and later in Europe using the fake papers.
The fake visa documents are for European countries, the officers
said. The operation also recovered laptops, printers and laminating
machines from the house in Ngara.
Katumo said they are looking for an official at the immigration
department after he was mentioned in the cartel and investigations. He
said security operations on the other missing and wanted persons are
The arrests come after the government announced drastic security
measures at border points and all entry points across the East African
nation to curtail cross border incursions by Al- Shabaab, fraud and
Cabinet Secretary in charge of internal security Joseph Ole Lenku
said the government will digitize all security registries and link all
border entry points through broadband to ensure that data to and from
entry points can be accessed in real time.
The enhanced security measures followed attack on the Westgate
shopping mall in last September where at least 67 people were killed and
more than 200 others injured.
Al-Qaida allied Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the heinous
act, terming it as part of revenge mission for cross border incursion in
Somalia by Kenyan soldiers.
It also follows impending terrorist attack amid intelligence reports
that the insurgents from Somalia are planning to carry out attacks in
Kenya and East Africa region.
The government has expressed concern that terrorists are increasingly
using fake identification documents to access some areas while planning
The government recently sacked over 10 workers at the immigration
department over corruption allegations after a security audit carried
out after the September 21, 2013 Westgate mall terror attack revealed
massive fraud in the issuing of identification documents to foreigners,
with people paying as little as 470 U.S. dollars for the crucial papers.
The audit, which was carried out after the attack revealed the deals
involved top officials and said these were the loopholes Somali
terrorist group Al-Shabaab exploited to send killers to Kenya through
the refugee camps.
The documents included visas, birth certificates, work permits and
identification documents. Police now believe terror suspects would not
operate freely unless permitted by their local host communities.
However, the troops operating in Somalia, insisted that the defection
of some of Al-Shabaab's top intelligence commander enabled the Kenyan
side to gain new information about the attack plot and pre-emptive and
disruptive strikes were carried out to neutralize the threats further.