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Cablegate: Armenians in Kenya - Passports and Official Id

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #2782/01 1780306
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 270306Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2694
INFO RUEHPNH/NVC PORTSMOUTH 0264
RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA 4814
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 8632
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 4269
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI 4437
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 1750
RUEHPC/AMEMBASSY LOME 0563
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 4723

UNCLAS NAIROBI 002782

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/CA
DEPT FOR CA/FPP, CA/VO, CA/OCS
DEPT FOR DS/IP/AF
DEPT FOR DS/CR/VF
PASS TO KCC
PASS TO INL/HSTC
POSTS FOR FRAUD PREVENTION MANAGERS

THIS CABLE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFRD ASEC CVIS CPAS CMGT KCRM KE
SUBJECT: ARMENIANS IN KENYA - PASSPORTS AND OFFICIAL ID

REF: A: Nairobi 2616

B: Nairobi 1187
C: Nairobi 1023

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Reftels describe the exploits of the
Armenian "Artur brothers," Artur Margaryan and Artur
Sargasyan, who were hastily deported from Kenya after
attempting to clear a colleague from Kenyan Customs and Jomo
Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) at gunpoint. News
reports stated that a subsequent raid of the Armenian
deportees' house in the fashionable Runda neighborhood of
Nairobi revealed that the Armenians gained two Kenyan
passports, official documentation falsely describing them as
Kenyan Deputy Commissioners of Police, and access cards
allowing them unrestricted access to all Kenyan airports.
The diplomatic corps in Kenya agrees tat the Armenians'
armed shenanigans at JKIA as well as their illegal
possession of passports and other official credentials
suggests that there remain serious document and physical
security concerns at JKIA, the Ministry of Immigration, and
the Kenyan Police Forces. END SUMMARY.

ARMENIANS "ISSUED" WITH STOLEN KENYAN PASSPORTS
--------------------------------------------- --

2. (SBU) On June 13 in a Special Session of Parliament,
Immigration Minister Gideon Konchella explained that on May
3, 2006 three blank passports were stolen from Immigration's
Nyayo House "strong room" by a cleaning lady. She
reportedly stole passport numbers A1031194, A1031195, and
A1031196 on behalf of unknown persons described as "Somalis"
who paid her 500 Kenyan Shillings, or about $7 to do the
deed. In the subsequent raid on the home of newly-deported
Armenian "Artur brothers" (reftels), a contact at Kenyan
immigration confirmed that police uncovered passports number
A1031195 and A1031196 whose biographical pages now described
the Armenians as Kenyan nationals named Arman Sarkissyan and
Artak Darkisyan.

3. (SBU) Disconcerting news reports suggest that these
freshly completed passports appear to be signed by the
required principal immigration officer. The third blank
passport remains missing according to the Immigration
Minister. Subsequent media reports have clouded the waters,
suggesting that the passports in the Armenians' possession
were forged and not the stolen blank passports; however,
given the Minister's statements in Parliament, this appears
unlikely. Other reports suggest the passports were
diplomatic; however, the number sequence suggests they are
of a standard series, which was also confirmed by an
Immigration Ministry source.

"BROTHERS" NOT IN THE BROTHERHOOD GET POLICE CREDENTIALS
--------------------------------------------- -----------

4. (SBU) Reports on other seized documents revealed that
the Armenians were in possession of falsely obtained
certificates of appointment describing them as Deputy
Commissioners of Police. Such documents can only be issued
with the authority of the Commissioner of Police, Unit
Commander, or Provincial Police Chief according to Kenyan
law. How the Artur "mercenaries" obtained these documents
remains unknown.

ARTURS' AIRPORT PASSES ISSUED WITHOUT AUTHORITY
--------------------------------------------- --

5. (SBU) The Armenians' armed threats of Customs officials
at JKIA, which precipitated the Armenians' high-profile
expulsion, revealed that they were in possession of airport
passes issued by the Government of Kenya allowing them
unrestricted access without having to clear security. Such
passes are only issued under the authority of the Kenya
Airports Authority. The passes in question are generally
very difficult to obtain via official channels. Newspaper
reports state that they are not even issued to Cabinet
Ministers. The source or authority by which the Armenians
gained the access cards remains unknown.

DIPLOMATIC CORPS UP IN ARMS OVER ARMENIANS
------------------------------------------

6. (SBU) A/DCM and CG attended an EU meeting in which the
British Charge presented two diplomatic notes issued to the
Kenyan Government calling for clarity on the Armenian issue.
The British government is gravely concerned about the
presence of the armed Armenians in restricted areas at JKIA,
which may reflect negatively on the UK's travel advisory for
Kenya and potentially on the continuation of British Airways
flights into Nairobi, since the security lapse is a serious
threat to the numerous British nationals visiting and
residing in Kenya. The British Charge also expressed
concern at the number of airport security passes that may
have been issued improperly, and the unwillingness of the
GOK to respond forthrightly to his government's notes. The
Polish representative in Nairobi seconded the concerns,
stating that the Armenian airport tomfoolery negatively
impacted their travel advisory. The diplomatic corps
members present agreed to file a formal demarche with the
GoK to demand a full explanation of the issue.

COMMENT
-------

7. (SBU) The saga of the Armenians in Kenya reveals that
there remain serious concerns over the control of and access
to official documents. That blank passports can be stolen
with ease from the Ministry of Immigration is one serious
concern, but that official documents can be fraudulently
obtained is a greater concern and hints at the pervasive
corruption extent in the Kenyan Ministry of Immigration,
Port Authority, and Police. Malfeasance by Kenyan
authorities in document control and issuance further
undermines the credibility of Kenyan's document security and
complicates Nairobi's consular responsibilities,
particularly in regards to document verification.
ROWE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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