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Deported Italian man can return to Kenya, court tells State

Kenyan authorities have lost their bid to block an Italian national from entering Kenya after he was denied entry last year on grounds that he allegedly committed sexual offences against minors.

Alberto Marchesi, who landed in Kenya on October 29 but was denied entry by airport officials, was flagged as being an undesirable immigrant.

After his deportation, he sued the government for illegally denying him entry into the country. He sued Immigration Department, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, his Tourism counterpart Najib Balala and Attorney General Kariuki Kihara.

Mr Marchesi filed the case through the Commission for Human Rights and Justice, where he termed the sexual exploitation allegations against him as baseless and without evidence.

He argued, through the lobby’s executive director Julius Ogogoh, that he had established a business venture in the country in the 25 years he has been visiting Kenya.

“Sometimes in 2007, I started doing some business of importing into Kenya Italian food products amongst other ventures,” Mr Marchesi said in an affidavit.

He also said he was in the country to deliver crucial medicine to his ailing uncle, Mr Italo Ceccagnoti, who has been sick for the past three years and depends on the drugs to live after suffering a stroke in 2017.

Mr Ceccagnoti has several properties in Bamburi and has been residing in Mombasa for close to 25 years. He bequeathed his wealth worth millions of shillings to Mr Marchesi in a will dated September 30, 2020, which becomes effective upon his death.

Mr Marchesi said he suspects that it is this will that led to his arbitrary arrest and deportation.

Intelligence reports

But Kenya said it had gathered damning intelligence against him, and tabled its allegations in a report marked as for the court’s eyes only.

“Consequently, his name was placed on a watch list pursuant to Section 33(1) (b) of the Act,” Immigration Officer Kipkoech Sang said in an affidavit filed in court.

Mr Sang said his alleged sexual crimes were the reason the foreigner was denied entry and deported back to Italy. According to court proceedings, the Immigration Office received the intelligence on October 13, 2020, about two weeks before Mr Marchesi landed in the country.

Mr Sang maintained that Mr Marchesi does not hold a resident or work permit that allows him to engage in any business in Kenya. He explained that if the foreigner engaged in importation of goods into the country as he alleges, then he did so contrary to the Kenyan Citizenship and Immigration Act 2010.

Allowed to enter

The court, however, ruled on Monday that the Italian man is not a prohibited immigrant and will be allowed to enter Kenya under the terms of the visa granted.

Justice Eric Ogola also issued an order that upon entry, any criminal allegations against Alberto Marchesi will be investigated and action taken pursuant to the outcome of the investigations.

The court had been told that Mr Marchesi allegedly abused the country’s hospitality by engaging in criminal activities.

“The criminal allegations made against Alberto Marchesi should be investigated, and appropriate action taken according to results of the investigations,” ruled Justice Ogola at the High Court in Mombasa.

The court also ruled that the Cabinet Secretary for Interior has the discretion to declare a person inadmissible or prohibited under Kenyan law, but noted that the discretion must be exercised judiciously.

“Even a foreigner who comes to Kenya has constitutional rights. It is unfortunate that such a foreigner is unilaterally declared a prohibited person without any due process,” Justice Ogola said. –