5 January 2013

Kenya: Traders Dispute Sucks in Tobiko, Immigration

A dispute among four Mombasa businessmen has escalated into accusations that the Ministry of Immigration and the Director of Public Prosecutions are intimidating two foreigners.

Two businessmen in the dispute have written to the head of civil service Francis Kimemia protesting that their rivals are trying to have them deported to Pakistan. Nadeem Iqbal and Wasim Iqbal, who trade as Africpak Motors Ltd, have been in Kenya as investors for more than 10 years. They were temporarily placed on the terrorism watch-list until the Criminal Investigations Department cleared them.

On 27 December, 2011, Africpak wrote to their landlords Jan Yasir Hayat and Omar Hayat Jan, brothers trading as Jans Trading, who also are suppliers of the cars they sell.

"We hereby write to inform you that we have submitted to you in person the final accounts for Africpak Motors Ltd, over two weeks ago, wherein we have asked you to pay us US$ 4,700,430 (Sh487.5 billion)...being the amount payable by Jans Trading Ltd to Africpak Motors Ltd. We however wish to note that to date there has been no response from your end," said the letter signed by Wasim.

The brothers claimed that they had overpaid for cars from auctions in Japan. On 19 April 2012, Africpak followed up the demand for a refund, this time through a letter by the law firm Michael, Daud and Associates. The Iqbal brothers were however not aware that a report incriminating them had been made at the National Counter-Terrorism Centre.

On 16 April 2012, the NCTC director Isaac Ochieng wrote to the director of immigration services asking him to review the status of the Iqbal brothers.

"Intelligence reports indicates that the under-listed Pakistani nationals are believed to be acquaintances of known terrorists suspects in the country. The above named have been on several occasions in contact with known terrorist suspects such as Mr Musa Osodo and the late Samir Khan among others," he wrote.

Ochieng followed up with another letter on 27 April 2012 asking the director of immigration services to place the Iqbal brothers on the terrorism watch list. However, on May 3, 2012, an immigration services officer, Samuel Kariuki, wrote another letter removing the brothers from the watch list without explanation.

"The honourable minister (for Immigration) has authorised the entry and exit of the persons who particulars appear below," the letter stated.

The Iqbal brothers then sought the intervention of police commissioner Matthew Iteere and Immigration minister Otieno Kajwang. Michael, Daud and Associates, their lawyers, wrote to Iteere on May 28, 2012 demanding police protection.

"Sometime in April 2012 our client instructed us to demand the said sum of US$4.7 million from the said Mr Jans. In response to our demand letter, Mr Jans recruited and employed various conmen to intimidate, harass and vex our client so that they can abandon their claim altogether," the lawyers said.

The brothers also sought help from the CID.

"For the last eight months our clients have been subjected to intensive investigations following malicious and false allegations made against them by one Hayat Jans, a business rival who owes them large sums of money which he does not want to pay," their lawyer wrote on August 1.

"Our clients' businesses have been disrupted and adversely affected. Further, they are continuously threatened with unlawful deportation."

CID officer S. Cheruiyot was tasked to get to the bottom of the issue.

"The two directors of Jan Trading Company are desperate in removing the two suspects from their premises and they should follow the right lawful procedure rather than misusing the police to investigate a case which is purely civil," Cheruiyot concluded in his report. It was difficult to get a comment from the Jan brothers as all their listed numbers were in Japan and the calls went unanswered.

The Iqbal brothers also wrote to DPP Keriako Tobiko on December 13 claiming that his officers were being used to intimidate them.

Copyright © 2013 The Star. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.