Court rules Sirat should face citizenship charges

April 23, 2015 1:33 pm
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High Court Judge Grace Ngenye-Macharia ruled that all immigration cases filed before the new Constitution took effect on August 27, 2010 were valid and must proceed to their logical conclusion/FILE
High Court Judge Grace Ngenye-Macharia ruled that all immigration cases filed before the new Constitution took effect on August 27, 2010 were valid and must proceed to their logical conclusion/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 23 – Former Wajir South Member of Parliament Mahamud Sirat has lost a bid to stop prosecution over his citizenship status.

The former legislator will be charged on May 4, five years after the State filed charges against him after the High Court dismissed his appeal.

He will be required to present himself before the Nairobi Chief Magistrate and plead to the case lodged against him by the Immigration department on February 9, 2010.

High Court Judge Grace Ngenye-Macharia ruled that all immigration cases filed before the new Constitution took effect on August 27, 2010 were valid and must proceed to their logical conclusion.

The judge dismissed Sirat’s appeal challenging the decision made by former Nairobi Chief Magistrate, Gilbert Mutembei on February 9, 2011 blocking his bid to halt prosecution.

Sirat had received reprieve on February 16, 2011, when the High Court indefinitely suspended his criminal trial.

He had been charged with knowingly misleading immigration officer William Okello that he was eligible for a Kenyan passport by failing to disclose that he was Australian.

The alleged offence was committed on November 29, 2006 at Nyayo House in Nairobi.

The second count alleged that Sirat was found unlawfully present in Kenya at Nairobi South ‘C’ Estate on May 25, 2008 without a valid pass or permit allowing him to be in the country.

The Immigration Department had filed the case against the former MP alleging that he was Australian but he declined to plead to the charge, arguing he was a Kenyan and not an alien.

He had protested that the case was meant to stop him from pursuing an election petition he had lodged against his political rival Abdirahman Ali Hassan.

Sirat, who had vied for the seat on an ODM-Kenya ticket, successfully petitioned the election of Hassan (KANU) and won the by-election held in mid-October 2010.

The Judge observed that the charges preferred against Sirat were not inconsistent with the Constitution and the politician was presumed innocent until proven guilty.

“It is only in a criminal trial that it shall be established whether Sirat legally acquired his national identity card. It is the outcome of the criminal proceedings that shall determine whether or not be was genuinely registered as a Kenyan citizen,” she said.

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