Kenyans have for the longest time lamented about the frustrations that are experienced in the process of acquiring a passport.
After applying online on the e-Citizen platform, a person who wants a passport has to go to Nyayo House and complete the process.
On paper, the process should take at least 10 working days to get the passport once submitting the form but that is not usually the case.
Investigations by Kenyans.co.ke has revealed that one has to part with at least Kshs.2,500 to have the crucial document processed and delivered.
A Thika resident stated that he had applied for his passport in April and expected to have his passport two weeks since his formal request. That was, however, not the case as he made numerous unsuccessful follow-up visits to Immigration.
[caption caption="The exercise at work permits Verification centre at Nyayo house on 9/7/2018"][/caption]
"That is when one of the officials approached me and I had to part with Kshs.2,000 to have my passport processed. It still took longer after the person told me that they were having issues with the printers," he told this writer on the phone.
On the day he was to get the document he had to part with another Kshs.500 so as to have his passport delivered without having to queue for hours.
"In total, I paid Ksh.2,500 to have the document," adding that another friend of his paid Kshs.4,000 to the officials to get the passport.
A report done by the Nation showed how the bribe amount is shared among the immigration officials.
One of the middlemen hovering around Nyayo House told an individual allied to the publication that the Kshs.2,500 does not benefit just one person.
“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,” the Nation reported.
[caption caption="Nyayo House"][/caption]
Another Kenyan expressed frustration of how she was taken in circles at the immigration office after she was identified as appearing gullible.
Sharing a screenshot on Twitter, the user stated that she was directed that her passport had been collected by an individual only identified as Joshua. Upon inquiring at the counter why her passport had been picked by a stranger, she got a message.
"Sasa, passport yako ilichukuliwa jana na makosa. Kujia hapa karibu na Sarova Hotel (Hi, your passport was picked by mistake. Come for it at Sarova Hotel)" read the text message.
[caption caption="Screenshot of the message"][/caption]
The lady narrated that she had a rough time as one of the officials offered to give her a civilian police officer to accompany her to the hotel.
They walked out of the building but did not go to the hotel; "So I went with the police officer who had been asked to assist me outside. I expressed my disappointment in the Immigration Department and informed him that this was indeed an inside game," she conveyed.
An hour lapsed as the officer claimed to be contacting the stranger who had sent the text message. The stranger was reported to be in Naivasha and later Muthaiga. Frustrated, the lady confronted the officer who admitted that her passport had been returned.
They later went back to the counter where she got her documents in a torn envelope. She eventually got her documents having caught on the scam that was being run in the office.
When contacted by Kenyans.co.ke, Ministry of Interior Spokesperson Mwenda Njoka dismissed the reports as 'fake news' adding that the Ministry had taken steps to deals with problems experienced in the Immigration department.
"The verification and registration of work permits that has been going on for the last two months is part of the exercise to clean up the problems with Immigration Department as well as the changes in Managment with a new director of immigration taking over from Monday.
[caption caption="The FirstLady Margaret Kenyatta at the Work permits Verification centre at Nyayo house on 11/7/2017"][/caption]
"It is strange that the Nation story didn't mention the positive things around the verification and registration of work permit," he told this writer.
This is just one example of the corrupt dealings in the Immigration Office that cost Kenyans to incur extra expense to acquire crucial services.
According to the 2016 Corruption Survey, the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government currently headed by CS Fred Matiang'i topped the list of the most corrupt Ministries.