Kenya has deported 17 foreigners involved in illegal gambling business in the country.
According to reports, the Chinese, Turkish and Spanish nationals were deported on Tuesday.
The developments came a day after Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i announced that the government was going to put tough measures in bid to control the betting craze in the country.
Speaking on Monday, during a Betting and Licencing Board stakeholders forum in Nairobi, Matiang’i asked foreigners running the business without valid permits to start packing.
“My firm instructions is that anyone who applied for a different permit and ended in gambling business, I am ready to sign their deportation papers today. We have to clean up the sector,” said Matiang’i.
Currently, Kenya has more than 30 betting firms and Casinos, although few are in operation.
The CS directed Immigration Principal Secretary Gordon Kihalangwa to review all working permits of foreigners who applied to do business in the country.
Matiang’i asserted that despite betting firms reaping big from gambling, the sector owes the government Ksh26 billion in unpaid taxes. He cited that collection of the debts has been frustrated through the courts by players in the sector.
“Poignantly, attempts to recover this amount have not been fruitful because the key industry operators have found refuge in judicial processes where all manner of court orders are sought and issued…” Matiangi said.
He, however, encouraged business owners with valid permits to cooperate with the tax man.
Meanwhile, the High Court has temporarily halted a directive banning celebrities from endorsing betting services, pending determination of a case opposing the move.
The ban, which was to take effect on May 30, was issued by the Betting Control and Licencing board in bid to control gambling addiction especially by the youth in the country.
Justice James Makau issued the conjunction on Monday after an artist moved to court claiming the ban had interfered with his source of income and that of other celebrities