A commissioner at the troubled National Land Commission may have used false information to acquire one of his two passports.
Commissioner Abdulkadir Adan Khalif is a dual citizen of Kenya and the US. Commissioners and judges in Kenya are not prohibited from holding two passports.
Copies of the two passports in possession of the Star indicate the same birth date in two different countries. The US passport indicates he was born in Somalia. In the Kenyan passport his birthplace is indicated as Mandera.
Both show he was born on January 1, 1953. The US passport was issued on September 26, 2007, and expired on the same date last year.
The Kenyan passort was issued on August 17, 2012, and will expire on the same date in 2022.
The commission has been in the spotlight. Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri has been charged with irregular compensation for SGR plots. All eight other commissioners are under probe.
This passport disclosure comes as lobbyists working to restore order in the land sector have asked Khalif to explain contradictory travel documents.
The group under the Land Sector Non-State Actors is expected to meet the commissioner this evening. They wrote to him on September 17, seeking clarification.
“We are of the view that there is need for clarification of obscure information attendant to the matter. We ask you to clarify to us whether the matter of your citizenship does not present an integrity deficit on your side,” consortium chairperson Odenda Lumumba wrote.
The Kenya Human Rights Commission, Pamoja Trust, Kenya Land Alliance, Mazingira Institute and Coast Land Non-State Actors are among organisations represented by the lobby. Others are Reconcile, Haki Jamii and Transform Empowerment Action Initiative.
Constitution Article 78 says state officers are barred from adopting two nationalities, except for judges and members of commissions such as the NLC.
In June, Khalif told the Star his citizenship has several times over two years been used to extort money by individuals unable to find any unethical conduct. He has denied wrongdoing and dismissed the reports as malicious allegations.
“Recently I got wind of efforts to try that again. Many of my colleagues at the commission are routinely blackmailed by newspaper reporters, especially when they think they ‘found’ something on them, no matter how frivolous or false. The commission has been in the news a lot recently, for all the bad reasons,” he said.
“Each one of us is now a target of smear campaigns or a victim of extortion and blackmail.”
Yesterday Khalif was asked if he had declared the two passports during his vetting, why the passports were issued by different countries, why they bear different places of birth and whether he was meeting members of civil society today.
He said in an SMS, “You have my passport? So you may know who stole it together with $800 from my briefcases about two years ago! Please help me identify the thief.”
During 2012 vetting by the Parliamentary Committee on Land, Khalif denied holding a Somalia passport or having links to that country’s politics, as alleged by the NIS.
In the US, passport and visa crimes are federal offences punishable by as much as 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The maximum sentence is 15 years if the offence is connected to drug trafficking and 20 years if connected to terrorism.