Busia Senator and former Attorney General (IG) Amos Wako has been barred from entering the United States of America over graft allegations.
In a statement on Monday evening, Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of United States, stated that the decision followed significant implication of Wako in corruption when he served as Kenya’s Attorney General.
Pompeo further noted that that Wako’s wife Flora Ngaira and son Julius have also been banned from setting foot in the US and doing business with the country.
“Today, the Department designates former Kenyan Attorney General Amos Sitswila Wako) due to his involvement in significant corruption. This designation is made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2019 (Div. F, P.L. 116-6), as carried forward by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2020 (Div. A, P.L. 116-59).
“Section 7031(c) provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States, ” the statement that was shared by US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus reads in part.
According to Pompeo the ban is part of US’ effort to help Kenya fight the corruption menace.
“Today, action sends a strong signal that the United States is a valuable partner in Kenya’s fight against corruption. Economic prosperity for all Kenyans is only possible by defeating the scourge of corruption, which also requires a functional, fair, and transparent criminal justice system, ” he added.
“The United States will continue to stand with all Kenyans as they strive to curb and punish corruption in Kenya.”
The senator served as the country’s AG for two decades — from 13 May 13, 1991, to August 26, 2011.
He is accused of having condoned corruption and often failed to prosecute senior government officials who were accused of corruption including the Anglo Leasing scandal that sucked in several senior government officials.
The scandal is said to have started when the Kenyan Government wanted to replace its passport printing system, in 1997, but came to light after a revelation by a government officer, in 2002.
According to reports, the scam was one of the reasons why former Member of Parliament for Kieni Constituency and minister Chris Murungaru was banned by the UK government from travelling to Britain.
To date, Wako denies the corruption allegations.
[They’re] absolutely not justified [because] a lot of those allegations were without foundation. If you are to ask the same people today, they will recognize that it was not the attorney general’s [fault]. People now recognize where the problem lay,” Wako told Voice of America (VOA) in 2011.
He stated that the problem lay in a dysfunctional then Criminal Investigation Department which he said did not carry out investigations properly.
“All the sins of the government [were] blamed on the attorney general,” he added.
Wako is currently one of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) advisory task force members set to present a report to President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga following the March 9, 2018 truce between the two.