Court suspends new charges for ID, passport issuance

Surgeon with love for law says revised charges are capricious and out of reach of many ordinary citizens

In Summary

• Those applying ID cards for the first time will part with Sh1,000.

• Kenyans seeking replacement for lost cards had their charges increase by 20 per cent to Sh2,000

Court gavel
Court gavel
Image: FILE

The High Court has issued conservatory orders stopping the implementation of the new charges that would require Kenyans to pay up to 20 per cent more for the replacement of an ID card and issuance of passports.

Justice Lawrence Mugambi of the High Court in Nairobi gave the orders following a petition by Nakuru-based surgeon Magare Gikenyi.

Gikenyi had sought the court's relief after Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki announced that the issuance of ID cards would no longer be free.

Those applying for the first time will pay Sh1,000 while Kenyans seeking replacement for lost cards had their charges increased by 20 per cent to Sh2,000. Initially, Kenyans applying for the identification document got the service for free.

For passports, charges for a document with 34 pages was increased from Sh4,500 to Sh7,500 while a 50-page passport was adjusted to Sh9,500 from Sh6,000.

A passport with 66 pages which was charged at Sh7,500 was reviewed upwards to cost Sh12,500.

Gikenyi in his petition said the charges were capricious and out of reach of many Kenyans.

In his affidavits, the petitioner termed the review irrational, arbitrary, whimsical and done in a nonsensical manner.

There were also increases for processing of birth and death certificates, verification of ID card, marriage certificate processing among others in the immigration department.

"The said amounts were increased arbitrarily without any formula or public participation whatsoever. This action will affect young Kenyans joining the age of majority and make it difficult for them to get identity cards which will also lead to inability to get job opportunities," Gikenyi said.

He said the review had not been approved by Parliament and that it would lead to outright abuse of political power if the court does not intervene and issue orders suspending the decision.

He said the increases were against the legitimate expectations of citizens considering the hard economic times and that the matter was of great public interest and ought to be heard urgently.

Justice Mugambi agreed with the petitioner and certified the matter urgent.

"A conservatory order be and is hereby issued suspending Gazette Notices No. 15239-15249 dated November 6, 2023, and any other document purporting to give authority to increase or review the charges/fees/levies specified therein pending the hearing and determination of the application inter-partes," the order issued by Justice Mugambi said.

Gikenyi has sued Cabinet secretaries Njuguna Ndung'u (Treasury) and Kithure Kindiki (Interior), the National Assembly and the Attorney General.

The court directed that they be served within three days.

The matter will be mentioned on November 29 for further directions.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star