Four Somali nationals who were arrested at Mandera Airstrip boarding a flight to Nairobi have been fined Sh5.5 million each or serve 10 years in prison.
Sakarie Abdullah Ahmed, Abdikadir Sharrif Abdinur, Ubah Abdirahman Hassan and Fadumo Anshur Mohamed were arrested last Sunday.
Police were granted custodial orders on Tuesday to enable them complete investigations.
The four were charged with being found in possession of Kenyan travel visas, which they could not account for.
They also faced a second count of being in Kenya unlawfully.
State counsel Kennedy Amwayi said the four were intercepted while about to fly to Nairobi using passport numbers belonging to Somalia but had Kenyan visa numbers attached to the documents.
“The accused persons had Kenyan visa numbers on their passports which they could not explain how they acquired them,” said Mr. Amwayi.
On interrogation, none of the accused person could tell how they got the documents.
SOMALIA ID CARDS
“We further established that they were unlawfully in Kenya after they produced Somalia national identity cards without any documents showing they were allowed in Kenya,” Mr Amwayi told the court.
The four pleaded guilty to the charges against them and in mitigation, told the court that they were cheated by whoever brought them the documents that they would get to Nairobi.
“I was cheated by the person who brought me the documents that I would get to Nairobi safely. I pray for forgiveness and referred back to my country,” said Ms Hassan, sentiments that were repeated by the other three accused persons.
Mandera Senior Resident Magistrate Peter Areri noted the offenses were serious and called for deterrent sentences.
“In the first count, the accused are fined Sh5 million each and in default to serve five year imprisonment and in the second count each accused is fined Sh500,000 and in default to serve five years imprisonment,” ruled Mr Areri.
He further ruled that the sentences will run consecutively and on completion, the accused be repatriated to Somalia and all exhibits be destroyed.
14 DAYS TO APPEAL
The accused have 14 days to appeal the ruling.
The four, according to a police source, were aided in acquiring the documents by a local flight agent and police officers at the Mandera Border Police Post.
“We are closing in on a local flight agent who is engaged in this dubious business together with our own officers at the border,” said the officer, who requested anonymity.
The officers at the Mandera border post are accused of arresting and releasing a Somali woman suspected to be part of the group.
Ms Mariam Bashir Abdi travelled from Somalia on January 28 and was arrested by border police officers but was released under unclear circumstances only to later be arrested on her way to Nairobi by road.
Criminal investigators raised an alarm and the woman was arrested on January 28 at El Wak Town on her way to Nairobi.
It was established that Ms Abdi had applied for Kenyan ID card in Isiolo town in 2012.
She is charged with making a false representation to deceive a registration officer but pleaded not guilty. Her case will be heard on February 9.